Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has signed an agreement to acquire a 50% stake in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) developer BlueBird Aero Systems.

BlueBird provides solutions to Israeli forces, as well as other customers worldwide.

Additionally, as a part of the deal, IAI will acquire holdings of India-based Piramal Technologies and additional shares from Fiberless Access and CEO Ronen Nadir.

Nadir will hold the remaining 50% shares of BlueBird and remain as the company’s CEO.

IAI and BlueBird have focused on the development of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capabilities, which deliver benefits to ground and naval forces.

BlueBird Aero Systems CEO Ronen Nadir said: “Bluebird brings advanced technological capabilities in the small tactical UAS world and has been fortunate to supply its systems to numerous customers around the world.”

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The company has developed WanderB-VTOL and ThunderB-VTOL along with other advanced VTOL platforms.

The acquisition is expected to aid IAI in increasing its operations and revenues, boosting technological developments while decreasing costs, time to market process, and enhancing competitiveness.

IAI executive vice-president and Military Aircraft Group general manager Moshe Levy said: “IAI’s UAV experience spans close to 50 years. During this time, IAI has focused on customising its developments to the needs arising from the field and the market.

“The acquisition of BlueBird is an implementation of this strategy, offering us an important leap forward in developing the next IAI UAV family. The combined companies will offer a broader portfolio of VTOL products with advanced technological benefits at competitive prices.”

In July, IAI CEO Nimrod Sheffer stepped down after two years.