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Air Force, academic community come together for future of unmanned aircraft systems

8/7/2009 - GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AFNS) -- Officials of the Air Force and national academic community attended an unmanned aircraft systems symposium Aug. 4 to 6 at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

The goal of this three-day symposium was to identify opportunities for UAS training, development, research and to introduce the Air Force unmanned aircraft systems flight plan for 2009 to 2047.

Gen. Stephen R. Lorenz, the commander of Air Education and Training Command, called on the younger generation for the innovation and creativity needed to go into the future of UAS', commenting that the future of UAS will need the cooperation from many key organizations.

"We're looking for new and innovative ideas and what better place to get them than here," General Lorenz said.

The Air Force will train more UAS pilots than fighter and bomber pilots this year due to the immediate demand for UAS operators and UAS capability, General Lorenz said.

"This region is a premier region for UAS development," said North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven.

Due to the cold climate and the need to train in all types of weather, Grand Forks gives the Air Force an undeniable advantage, Governor Hoeven said.

Over the next eight months, an implementation plan will be created in order to achieve the goals of the future of UAS', said Col. Eric Mathewson, the Air Force UAS Task Force director.

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