Airbus Helicopters and Aerovel have signed an agreement regarding the acquisition of Aerovel and its UAS, Flexrotor, as part of a strategy to strengthen its portfolio of tactical unmanned solutions. Flexrotor is a small tactical unmanned aerial system designed for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions at sea and over land. 

"We are looking forward to welcoming Aerovel into the Airbus family. 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. Aerovel's expertise in autonomous flight technology will undoubtedly complement our UAS development with the VSR700, as well as the work that we have been doing to develop interoperability,” said Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters.

The Flexrotor, a Vertical Takeoff and Landing Unmanned Aircraft with a maximum launch weight of 25 kg, has been designed for ISTAR missions for more than 12-14 hours in a typical operational configuration. It can integrate different types of payloads including an electro-optical system and advanced sensors to suit unique mission needs. With the ability to autonomously launch and recover from either land or sea requiring only a 12 by 12 ft. area for launch and recovery, the Flexrotor is ideal for expeditionary missions requiring minimal footprint.

Aerovel, based in Bingen, Washington, will remain a US-owned company and continue collaboration with the US DoD under Airbus’ Special Security Agreement (SSA).