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Wrigley, ComDel Mark Completion of First Unmanned Aerial System Built in North Dakota
Post Date: May 26 2015

By ND Governor's Office
Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley today joined employees at Wahpeton-based ComDel Innovation, Inc. to celebrate the completion of the first unmanned aircraft manufactured in North Dakota. 
“Hats off to the great employees at ComDel Innovation for successfully manufacturing the first North Dakota-made unmanned aerial system,” Wrigley said.  “ComDel’s success represents another milestone in our continuing work to grow North Dakota’s UAS industry and to become a national hub for UAS manufacturing, research and development.
“By working together in North Dakota, we have also established the nation’s first UAS business park as well as the nation’s first certified UAS test site,” Wrigley said.  “With every advancement we make, North Dakota becomes even better positioned to attract more UAS-related investment and jobs; to lead the nation’s quest for the safe integration of the technologies; and to further diversify our state economy.”
In February, Gov. Dalrymple joined executives from ComDel Innovation. and Florida-based Altavian in announcing the companies’ agreement to manufacture unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and UAS components at ComDel’s high-tech manufacturing plant in Wahpeton.
“We are excited to be working with Altavian and to play a role in moving North Dakota’s UAS industry forward,” ComDel Innovation President Jim Albrecht said. “At ComDel Innovation, our expertise in high-tech, high-precision manufacturing is a great fit for the UAS industry and we look forward to the opportunities ahead.”
Depending on sales, Albrecht estimates that an additional 10 to 20 employees may be added at ComDel to manufacture unmanned aerial systems at its Wahpeton plant.

ComDel Innovation is a precision manufacturer that integrates all aspects of product development. ComDel’s manufacturing services include precision component fabrication, molding, tooling and stamping dies, injection molding, metal stamping, assembly operations and metal finishing.
At ComDel Innovation Friday, Altavian founder and CEO John Perry presented the first North Dakota-made unmanned aerial system to Fargo Air Museum officials, a donation to mark the milestone.
Altavian COO Thomas Rambo said his company is in the process of hiring a few local employees to help manage the partnership.  Rambo said Altavian is also pursuing opportunities to partner with the Northern Plains FAA UAS Test Site.

Based in Gainesville, Fla., Altavian provides unmanned aerial systems and associated data collection services with applications in the fields of precision agriculture, infrastructure analysis, natural resource management and conservation for government, commercial and research-based customers.
Others who joined Wrigley today at ComDel Innovation included Albrecht, Perry, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, Wahpeton Mayor Meryl Hansey and North Dakota Commerce Commissioner Al Anderson.
Dalrymple has led the state’s efforts to establish a national UAS test site in North Dakota, to develop the Grand Sky UAS Business and Aviation Park, and to establish North Dakota as a national hub for UAS research and development.

In May 2013, Dalrymple formed the six-member Northern Plains Unmanned Aerial Systems Authority (NPUASA) which was successful in landing one of only six national UAS test site designations approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.  The NPUASA is chaired by Lt. Gov. Wrigley.
In April 2014, North Dakota’s Northern Plains UAS Test Site was the nation’s first to be FAA certified as ready to begin the work of integrating unmanned aerial systems into the national airspace.  The state has invested more than $20 million to establish a national UAS test site; to support the development of Grand Sky, a UAS and aviation park located at the Grand Forks Air Force Base and to advance UAS research and development.

Last month, aerospace giant Northrop Grumman signed a lease to become an anchor tenant at the Grand Sky UAS park located on the Grand Forks Air Force Base.
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