Leasing unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) is becoming a more popular option as commercial entities seek the capability and military users seek to obviate cumbersome acquisition processes.
JetLease Vice-President Katy Glynn told Jane’s she sees a growing appetite for leased unmanned platforms. Users may start leasing a smaller platform to test the capability, then realise the opportunities and soon want a larger system, she noted. “We’re really a bridge between sticking your toes in the water with the unmanned systems … and the governments and militaries who can acquire the larger UAS,” Glynn said.
JetLease – a 35-year-old provider of private, commercial, and military aircraft – is discussing lease deals with potential military and civilian clients in Asia, Australia, Canada, and the Middle East, Glynn said. The company is finalising negotiations with several customers, but she declined to name them until agreements are settled.
In September 2017 JetLease inked a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with UMS Skeldar – a joint venture between Saab and UMS AERO – to lease out UMS Skeldar’s vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) portfolio, including its flagship V-200 unmanned helicopter. Packages include dry leasing (without crew) and wet leasing (with crew and maintenance) as well as optional payloads such as Sentient Vision Systems’ ViDAR, the company said.
In early May JetLease signed an MOU with FLYING-CAM, which specialises in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for aerial cinematography. FLYING-CAM recently unveiled a new version of its Special Aerial Response Automatic Helicopter (SARAH), which is “designed to fly up to 60 minutes on one charge, resist wind power of up to 80 km/h, and carry multiple payloads of up to 10 kg”, the company said. SARAH is powered by a 5 kW electric engine.
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