Airbus announced Monday that it is acquiring American drone manufacturer Aerovel, marking a significant move in its efforts to expand its unmanned aerial system (UAS) portfolio.
According to Airbus chief executive Bruno Even, the move will help the company respond to growing customer demands for autonomous systems and manned-unmanned teaming capabilities.
He further stated that Aerovel’s expertise in developing autonomous flight technology will “undoubtedly complement our UAS development with the VSR700, as well as the work that we have been doing to develop interoperability.”
Airbus said the acquisition has been approved by relevant bodies of both firms. However, it remains subject to regulatory approval.
The move is expected to be finalized later this year.
With the acquisition, Airbus is also expected to take ownership of Aerovel’s modern UAS called the Flexrotor.
It is described as a mission-proven force multiplier for operations in harsh, high-threat, and GPS-denied environments.
It is capable of performing vertical takeoff and landing, eliminating the need for long runways.
The unmanned system also has a maximum launch weight of 15 kilograms and can stay airborne for up to 12 hours.
The Flexrotor is suitable for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance missions at sea and over land.
Maintaining Support for US Military
Aerovel chief executive Ali Dian said joining forces with Airbus will allow for scaled up innovation, which could lead to continuous, unwavering support for the US military and its allies.
“We are proud to become part of an organization with a rich legacy of aerospace excellence and we look forward to leveraging our combined strengths to define the future of autonomous systems,” he said.