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Airbus Announces Deal to Acquire Unmanned Aircraft Maker Aerovel


Airbus Helicopters has signed an agreement to acquire Aerovel and its small tactical unmanned aerial system called Flexrotor for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance missions.

According to the Marignane, France-based company, the strategic move will expand its UAS portfolio.

Aerovel’s expertise in autonomous flight technology complements the organization’s UAS development efforts and supports its program to advance interoperability, Airbus Helicopters CEO Bruno Even said. The acquisition also aligns with company plans to deliver more mission offerings such as manned-unmanned teaming capabilities, he added.

When the deal closes, Airbus will also bring home Flexrotor, a small tactical UAS designed to support intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance missions. The vertical takeoff and landing aircraft can operate for up to 14 hours and carry a variety of payloads, including an electro-optical system and advanced sensors.

Airbus said Flexrotor’s ability to autonomously launch and recover from either land or sea makes it suitable for expeditionary missions in harsh and GPS-denied environments.

The transaction is expected to be finalized in 2024, subject to regulatory approval. However, even when it starts functioning under a European parent organization, Aerovel will still operate as a U.S. company and continue its work with the Department of Defense under a special security agreement, Airbus noted.

In a statement, Aerovel CEO Ali Dian said the merger will lead to increased innovation and bolster support for the United States and its allies.

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