Monday, January 15, 2024

US-owned company Aerovel to be acquired by Europe’s Airbus Helicopters

Airbus Helicopters and Aerovel have signed an agreement regarding the acquisition of Aerovel and its unmanned aerial system (UAS) Flexrotor. Airbus entered the deal to strengthen its portfolio of tactical unmanned solutions.

Flexrotor is a small tactical unmanned aerial system designed for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions at sea and over land.

"This strategic acquisition aligns with our vision to expand our UAS offering and respond to a growing customer demand worldwide for additional mission capabilities such as manned-unmanned teaming,” said Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters. “Aerovel's expertise in autonomous flight technology will undoubtedly complement our UAS development with the VSR700.”

Designed to operate alongside shipborne naval assets, the Airbus VSR700 UAS under development will provide commanders with a larger and clearer tactical picture, greater search and rescue power, and bring to bear a highly capable autonomous platform in times of heightened threats.

"Joining forces with Airbus will allow us to scale innovation, accelerate our mission to advance unmanned aviation, and maintain our unwavering support for the U.S. military and its allies,” said Ali Dian, CEO of Aerovel.

The Flexrotor, a modern Vertical Takeoff and Landing unmanned aircraft with a maximum launch weight of 25 kilograms, has been designed for ISTAR missions for more than 14 hours in a typical operational configuration. The UAS can integrate different types of payloads including an electro-optical system and advanced sensors to suit customers’ unique mission needs.

With the ability to autonomously launch and recover from either land or sea requiring only a 12 by 12-foot area, the Flexrotor is ideal for expeditionary missions requiring minimal footprint.

Through the support of the U.S. Department of Defense, and contracted deployment in a variety of maritime security exercises, the Flexrotor is a mission-proven, force multiplier for operations in harsh, high-threat, GPS-denied environments.

The Flexrotor can also be used for missions such as forest fire surveillance (providing firefighters with critical images day or night) and ice navigation (helping guide naval vessels through ice in the Arctic Ocean).

Based in Bingen, Wash., Aerovel will remain a US-owned company and continue collaboration with the U.S. military.

The acquisition between Airbus Helicopter and Aerovel is expected to be approved and closed later this year.

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