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Airbus finalises acquisition of Aerovel, manufacturer of Flexrotor UAS

An Aerovel Flexrotor unmanned aerial vehicle takes off from the flight deck of the guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60) in the Gulf in March 2023. Airbus has now acquired the manufacturer as it looks to expand its portfolio in the tactical vertical take-off and landing unmanned aircraft sector. (US Navy)

Airbus has completed the purchase of US company Aerovel, which manufactures the Flexrotor unmanned aircraft system (UAS).

The European company announced the milestone on 7 May, saying it will strengthen its portfolio of tactical unmanned solutions.

β€œWe 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,” Airbus said.

Based in Bingen, Washington state, Aerovel manufactures the Flexrotor, which is a rotary- and fixed-winged vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aircraft designed for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions at sea and over land. With a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 25 kg, the Flexrotor can operate for upwards of 14 hours while carrying a range of electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) payloads.

β€œThe Flexrotor, as a vertical take-off and landing UAS, fits into our strategy to expand our UAS offerings. Together with the VSR700 [unmanned helicopter], we will continue to develop manned-unmanned teaming to offer our customers the enhanced and expanded mission capabilities that they require … while preserving essential assets such as helicopters,” said Mathilde Royer-Germain, head of strategy and sustainability at Airbus Helicopters.

Aerovel has provided contractor-owned, contractor-operated use of the Flexrotor to the US Department of Defense (DoD), with the UAS flown from the USS Paul Hamilton, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.

For more information on the Flexrotor, please seeAerovel Flexrotor .

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