GRAND FORKS, N.D. (KXNET) — The cold war came to a close years ago, ending the nuclear arms race between Russia and the U.S. However, now there’s a whole other arms race that the U-S is fighting to join…And North Dakota may play a key role in this.

Hypersonic weapons go 3500 miles per hour…. that’s 4 and a half times faster than the speed of sound. And China and Russia are driving our country to develop hypersonic weapons faster to avoid falling behind.

According to Senator Hoeven, Grand Sky is located adjacent to Grand Forks Air Force Base in the city. He says Grand Sky’s program — called Sky Range — would be a game-changer in the hypersonic weapons race.

Currently, the Department of Defense uses an old fleet of ships across a Pacific Ocean corridor to test hypersonic missiles. However, the Department of Defense is only able to conduct four to six tests per year, as it takes several weeks to deploy and position the ships for each test. Operating the ships is expensive, and this process signals the testing schedule to America’s adversaries.

Sky Range would replace the ships with modified Global Hawks, who would be able to deploy quickly, more frequently, and at a lower cost. The aircraft will also increase testing capacity through the creation of additional testing corridors in the Pacific and elsewhere.

It’s Grand Sky’s hope that more tests– including those involving the Sky Range project — will help our country see what does and doesn’t work in U.S. hypersonic weapons programs.