Airbus has finalised the acquisition of US-based Aerovel, including its unmanned aerial system (UAS) Flexrotor; a small uncrewed system designed for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions over sea and land.

Led by a group of aeronautical specialists who invented and developed the Group 2 small tactical unmanned aerial systems (STUAS) in use on a variety of missions worldwide, “the Group 2 UAS systems have contributed significantly to the effectiveness of US and allied troops as well as their safety and security,” explains Group 2.

“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,” explained Airbus, adding that the vertical takeoff and landing Flexrotor fits into Airbus’ strategy to expand its UAS offerings.

With a maximum launch weight of 25kgs, the Flexrotor is optimised for ISTAR missions in excess of 12-14 hours in a typical operational configuration and can integrate a variety of payloads including customisable sensors. Through the support of the US Department of Defense (DoD) and contracted deployment, the Flexrotor is a “mission-proven, force multiplier for operations in harsh, high-threat, GPS-denied environments,” adds Airbus. It can also be deployed in parapublic roles including forest fire surveillance and Arctic ice navigation.

Aerovel will continue to design and manufacture its product in Washington. “Together with the [unmanned rotary-wing reconnaissance system] 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,” commented Mathilde Royer, head of strategy and sustainability at Airbus Helicopters.
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