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Airbus finalises acquisition of Aerovel and its UAS Flexrotor

Toulouse-based Airbus has finalised the acquisition of Bingen, Washington-based Uncrewed Air System (UAS) manufacturer Aerovel and its Flexrotor UAS in a move to strengthen its portfolio of tactical unmanned solutions.

Flexrotor is a small tactical UAS designed for Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions at sea and over land.

“We see more and more armed forces and parapublic agencies around the world looking to investigate how unmanned aerial systems can strengthen their intelligence and surveillance capabilities,” said Mathilde Royer, Head of Strategy and Sustainability at Airbus Helicopters.

“The Flexrotor, as a vertical takeoff and landing UAS, fits into our strategy to expand our UAS offerings. Together with the VSR700, we will continue to develop manned-unmanned teaming to offer our customers the enhanced and expanded mission capabilities that they require to monitor and safeguard their communities and critical infrastructure, while preserving essential assets such as helicopters,” she added.

The Flexrotor, a modern Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) Unmanned Aircraft with a maximum launch weight of 25 kg, has been designed for 12-14 hour ISTAR missions in a typical operational configuration. It can integrate different types of payloads including an electro-optical system and advanced sensors to suit customers’ unique mission needs, the company says.

With the ability to autonomously launch and recover from either land or sea requiring only a 3.7 by 3.7 m (12 by 12 ft.) area, the Flexrotor is design for expeditionary missions requiring minimal footprint. Through the support of the US Department of Defense (DoD), 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.

Aerovel currently employs more than 30 people and presents a significant growth trajectory. It will continue to design and manufacture the Flexrotor in Bingen in an existing and mature UAS ecosystem.

Image: Airbus

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