AeroVironment, Inc. announced it has entered into a strategic relationship with Sweden-based CybAero AB to develop and distribute a Tier II vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) unmanned aircraft system in response to unmet requirements from multiple customers. Defense-Update reports. The relationship gives AeroVironment exclusive rights to provide CybAero AB systems to United States customers and to government customers in NATO and other countries. AeroVironment has agreed to purchase up to $3 million in convertible notes from CybAero to facilitate the company’s growth.
“We are working with CybAero to integrate their product into our system solution and will invest to add critical capabilities required to bring the most competitive offering to market,” said Roy Minson, AeroVironment senior vice president and Unmanned Aircraft Systems general manager. “AeroVironment and CybAero have been working together very effectively to incorporate capabilities required to meet the requirements of United States government and other customers.” he added.
United States military customers typically segment the numerous types of unmanned aircraft systems they employ by size, weight, endurance and range into different tiers. Man-portable, hand-launched systems such as AeroVironment’s RQ-11B Raven, RQ-20A Puma AE and Wasp AE that weight less than 20 pounds comprise the Tier I segment. Tier II UAS include heavier, larger and longer endurance systems with longer range, such as CybAero’s VTOL offering. The Marine Corps has selected the RQ-21A Integrator for this role. Tiers III and IV include air vehicles of increasing size, such as the MQ-7B Shadow and Firescout, capable of even longer endurance and range and requiring larger support teams and infrastructure requirements.
“CybAero is a pioneer and leader in the Tier II VTOL market. Our joint team has demonstrated this reliable, cost-effective Tier II UAS solution that will build on AeroVironment’s family of small UAS, expanding our customer offering,” Minson continued, “With its significantly greater endurance and payload capacity, small footprint and ease of use, this new system will join our family of UAS and deliver a robust vertical takeoff and landing capability to current and new customers seeking that Tier II solution.” Leif Erlandsson, CybAero’s chief executive officer added, “We believe that AeroVironment possesses the experience, relationships and systems integration skills to bring all the benefits of our VTOL system to customers in the United States and beyond.”