Airbus Helicopters has acquired Aerovel, amplifying its unmanned aerial capabilities and responding to global demand for enhanced mission capabilities. 

The move marks a significant step toward the future of autonomous systems.

Airbus Helicopters has signed a deal to acquire Aerovel, a move aimed at fortifying its portfolio of tactical unmanned solutions. The focal point of this acquisition is Aerovel’s unmanned aerial system (UAS), Flexrotor, designed for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions both at sea and over land.

Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters, said, “This strategic acquisition aligns with our vision to expand our UAS offering and respond to a growing customer demand worldwide for additional mission capabilities such as manned-unmanned teaming.” The acquisition positions Airbus to accelerate advancements in unmanned aviation.

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Flexrotor, a Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) Unmanned Aircraft with a 25 kg maximum launch weight, has ISTAR capabilities, operating for 12-14 hours in a typical configuration. Its versatility is evident in its ability to integrate various payloads, including electro-optical systems and advanced sensors, catering to unique mission requirements.

Ali Dian, CEO of Aerovel, added, “Joining forces with Airbus will allow us to scale innovation, accelerate our mission to advance unmanned aviation, and maintain our unwavering support for the US military and its allies.”

In 2021, Aerovel revealed reliability results for its latest variant of the Flexrotor during demonstrations for the United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM). They were designed to meet the stringent requirements of the US Department of Defense.

Flexrotor’s mission-proven track record, supported by the US Department of Defense, positions it as a force multiplier for operations in challenging environments.

The acquisition ensures that Aerovel, based in Bingen, Washington, remains a US-owned company, continuing collaboration with the US Department of Defense under Airbus’ Special Security Agreement. The transaction, approved by both companies, awaits regulatory clearance and is expected to close in 2024, heralding a new era in unmanned aviation for Airbus Helicopters.