Blackhawk!

Archive for the ‘UAS’ Category

AeroVironment to Acquire Arcturus UAV, Expanding Product Portfolio and Reach into Group 2 and 3 Unmanned Aircraft Systems Segments

Thursday, January 14th, 2021

• Total transaction value of $405 million in cash and stock

• Arcturus UAV’s complementary capabilities provide program diversification, increase key customer penetration and enhance shareholder value

• Arcturus UAV is well positioned for ongoing United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) Mid-Endurance UAS (MEUAS) task orders, United States Army Future Tactical UAS (FTUAS) program delivery orders and international contracts

• Expected to be immediately accretive to revenue growth, adjusted EBITDA margin and non-GAAP diluted EPS, excluding intangible assets, amortization expense and deal and integration costs, and accretive to GAAP diluted EPS by fiscal year 2022

• AeroVironment to host conference call and audio webcast at 2:00 pm Pacific Time today

AeroVironment, Inc. to Acquire Arcturus UAV, Expand Reach into Group 2 and 3 UAS Segments (Photo: AeroVironment)

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. Jan 13, 2021 – AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems, and Arcturus UAV, Inc., a privately-held leading provider of Group 2 and 3 unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and services, today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which AeroVironment will acquire Arcturus UAV for a total purchase price of $405 million, including $355 million in cash and $50 million in AeroVironment stock.  The transaction, which was unanimously approved by the AeroVironment and Arcturus UAV Boards of Directors, is expected to accelerate AeroVironment’s strategy to drive profitable growth and value by expanding into attractive adjacent segments and by broadening its capabilities and customer footprint.

Founded in 2004 and based in Petaluma, California, Arcturus UAV has approximately 270 employees, designs and manufactures Group 2 and Group 3 UAS and provides related services, including contractor-owned, contractor-operated (COCO) services. Arcturus UAV is a leading supplier to the USSOCOM, supporting its $1.4 billion MEUAS III and IV programs, and one of four awardees selected for funded development and demonstrations supporting the U.S. Army’s FTUAS program, a potential billion dollar, and next-generation UAS program. Arcturus UAV has a demonstrated track record of solid performance, with topline growth exceeding 20 percent for each of its last two fiscal years.

“We are excited about the opportunities for value creation through our acquisition of Arcturus UAV, which will enable us to accelerate our growth strategy and expand our reach into the more valuable Group 2 and 3 UAS segments,” said Wahid Nawabi, AeroVironment president and chief executive officer. “Group 2 and 3 UAS and services, collectively, potentially represent more than one billion dollars in annual contract value, according to an independent forecast. Combining our highly complementary products and technologies will enhance our portfolio, deliver top and bottom-line growth, and enable us to provide customers with a complete set of Group 1 through 3 UAS, tactical missile systems, high-altitude pseudo-satellites and unmanned ground vehicle solutions. Through this expanded portfolio, we will be well positioned to serve a broader range of customer missions across multiple domains and significantly enhance value for shareholders over the near and long-term.”

“The Arcturus UAV team has produced strong growth in recent years and has secured strategically important wins in the MEUAS and FTUAS programs, positioning Arcturus as a leader for next-generation program requirements. Together, we will offer an unmatched portfolio of multi-domain unmanned capabilities, supported by our ongoing investments in artificial intelligence and autonomy, to help our customers address a broad set of defense and commercial missions. We look forward to welcoming Arcturus UAV’s talented team, strong customer relationships in growing UAS segments and robust pipeline of innovations to AeroVironment,” Mr. Nawabi added.

“AeroVironment’s depth of experience in UAS and tactical missile systems, international presence, and impressive team is a natural fit for Arcturus UAV, and will create substantial opportunities to build on our strong momentum,” said D’Milo Hallerberg, Arcturus UAV president and chief executive officer. “With the support of AeroVironment, we will have greater scale, expanded resources, cutting-edge technology and superior capabilities to meet the growing global demand for our products and solutions. We are confident that with AeroVironment, we can accelerate our growth as part of a larger, more diverse company and look forward to working closely with the team to complete this exciting transaction.”

Arcturus UAV’s products include the JUMP-20, a multi-mission, medium endurance vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) system requiring no launch equipment or runway and the T-20, a multi-mission, medium endurance catapult-launched system. Arcturus UAV sells its products directly to end users and delivers COCO services. All Arcturus UAV systems have the ability to carry a broad range of payloads, including standard EO/IR gimbals as well as 3-D mapping, SAR, LIDAR, communications relay, COMINT and SIGINT payloads. 

AeroVironment expects the acquisition to be immediately accretive to adjusted EBITDA, excluding deal and integration costs, and non-GAAP diluted earnings per share, excluding intangible assets, amortization expense and deal and integration costs, and accretive to GAAP diluted EPS in fiscal year 2022, while increasing pro forma net leverage to 0.5 times adjusted EBITDA.

Upon completion of the transaction, key members of the Arcturus UAV executive management team will remain in leadership positions. The transaction is expected to close during fourth quarter of AeroVironment’s fiscal year 2021, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. At close, Arcturus UAV will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of AeroVironment.

The purchase price represents a multiple of approximately 11x Arcturus UAV’s LTM 9/30/20 adjusted EBITDA, net of anticipated tax benefits. In connection with the acquisition, AeroVironment has received commitments for a $200 million Term Loan Facility and $100 million revolver (undrawn at close) with Bank of America, N.A. acting as Administrative Agent, and with BofA Securities, Inc., JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. and U.S. Bank National Association acting as arrangers. AeroVironment will fund approximately $155 million of the acquisition from cash on hand.

Brigantes Presents – Coptrz Webinar Response

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

Coptrz are drone specialists who provide end to end solution, including training, hardware, consultancy and on-going support. Born from a commercial background, Brigantes began working with Coptrz, adapting the software and capability in the Parrot Anafi Thermal drone. However, what could be done with this drone in terms of military security was limited.

Step forth, the Parrot Anafi USA. Originally designed for the US Army, and manufactured in Massachusetts, it is considered a big jump up in capability from the Thermal.

But how does this drone relate to today’s military user?

Coptrz produced a drone Webinar for the military and the commercial user. Here Matt Williams, MD at Brigantes, gives feedback on the features of the Anafi USA and how these features can greatly benefit the guys on the ground.

For more information contact: [email protected]

DroneShield C-sUAS Technology Supports US Army Exercise

Sunday, December 27th, 2020

DroneShield, a global leader in Counter-UAS (C-UAS) solutions, supported the recent U.S. Army Defense in Depth Exercise (DiDEX 20) with several of its C-UAS solutions for dismounted, mounted, and fixed-site drone detection.

During DiDEX, DroneShield successfully demonstrated its DroneSentryTM, DroneSentry-XTM, RfPatrolTM, and DroneGunTM solutions to support multiple operational scenarios within a densely populated urban environment. DroneGunTM and RfPatrolTM were used to support dismounted operations, providing situational awareness and an inituitive response capability at the tactical edge by an individual operator. DroneSentry-XTM, while mounted to a commercial vehicle, provided real-time alerts, stationary and on-the-move through the city, proving a highly effective, portable, and flexible C-UAS solution for mobile operations.

DroneSentry demonstrated its extended range Radio Frequency (RF) detection and triangulation throughout the urban airspace with its RfOne sensors. In addition to long-range detections, DroneSentry demonstrated interoperability with the U.S. Army’s Forward Area Air Defense Command and Control (FAAD C2) software. FAAD C2 was selected and approved by the Department of Defense Joint Counter Small-Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office (JCO) earlier this year. This is a key step towards a more seamless integration between the DroneSentry multi-sensor system and FAAD C2.

“The dynamic threat drones can pose dictates that a successful Counter-UAS strategy cannot take a one-size-fits-all approach. It takes a family of adaptable and interoperable solutions to effectively detect and mitigate the threat, and protect the Warfighter,” commented Oleg Vornik, DroneShield’s Chief Executive Officer. “We’re honored to work closely with the U.S. Army, its soldiers, and partner agencies at forward thinking events like DiDEX to stay ahead of emerging and fast moving threats.”  

DroneShield’s broad portfolio of solutions enables individuals and units to effectively address their C-UAS requirements, leverage existing mission components, and reduce overall cognitive burden. DroneSentry and DroneSentry-C2’s open architecture allows for interoperability of DroneShield solutions across the ecosystem of JCO approved C-UAS systems and solutions including FAAD C2 and others.

DiDEX is facilitated by the U.S. Army’s C5ISR Center Unique Mission Cell (UMC), part of the Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC). Following DroneShield’s participation in DiDEX last month, the company announced MIL-STD-2525 compliance of its DroneSentry-C2TM, further demonstrating its commitment to and support of U.S. DoD end users.


DroneShield’s fixed-site DroneSentryTM system being installed in support of Defense in Depth Exercise (DiDEX) and DroneShield’s vehicle mounted DroneSentry-XTM operating near the Superdome in New Orleans, LA

For inquiries, please contact [email protected].

Four Additional Schiebel Camcopter

Friday, December 18th, 2020

Vienna, 14 December 2020 – Naval Group, on behalf of the French Navy, has accepted for operational use two further CAMCOPTER® S-100 Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) with a total of four Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs). They will be deployed on the Mistral-class amphibious helicopter carriers (Porte- Hélicoptères Amphibie – PHA) Tonnerre and Mistral.

The acquisition comes after the successful integration of the CAMCOPTER® S-100 on the French Navy Mistral-class vessel Dixmude, which was finalised in 2019. This was the first time in Europe, that a rotary wing UAS had been connected to the combat system of an amphibious helicopter carrier.

The acceptance tests of the two systems took place in the last week of October with representatives of Naval Group and the French Navy in attendance.

Over the next few months the newly acquired CAMCOPTER® S-100 UAS will be integrated on the French Navy’s vessels Tonnerre and Mistral, significantly enhancing the helicopter carrier’s Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.

The CAMCOPTER® S-100 VTOL UAS operates day and night and can carry multiple payloads up to a combined weight of 50 kg. Due to its minimal footprint, reliability and airworthiness pedigree, it is ideally suited for maritime operations around the globe.

Hans Georg Schiebel, Chairman of the Schiebel Group, said: “After the successful integration on the Dixmude, we are very proud of the confidence the French Navy has in the proven and reliable CAMCOPTER® S-100 and we are looking forward to the integration on the Tonnerre and Mistral and their operational deployment.”

LCDR Serge D., UAS program officer, French Navy: “The S-100 on Mistral-class will be the first operational tactical UAS for the French Navy and this is a major step towards the Mercator plan.”

Porte Hélicoptère Amphibie Maintenance Architect at Naval Group, Philippe V., said: “We participated in the successful factory acceptance test, which was an important milestone for this acquisition, prior to the global integration onboard conducted by Naval Group.”

DroneShield Releases US DoD Compliant DroneSentry-C2

Thursday, December 17th, 2020

DroneShield Ltd (ASX:DRO) (“DroneShield”, or “Company”), is pleased to release a US DoD MIL-STD-2525 compliant version of its DroneSentry-C2TM command-and-control system, as part of its continued work with the US Department of Defense.

MIL-STD-2525 refers to a standard structured set of symbology for the display of information in command and control systems and applications, by use by the US Department of Defense, and non-DOD entities such as other Federal agencies and NATO partners. DroneSentry-C2 TM now provides users with industry leading enterprise features and MIL-STD-2525 compliance.

DroneSentry-C2 TM is a common operating picture for the Counter-UxS mission. DroneSentry-C2 TM enables its users to visualize their operational space, integrate with existing perimeter security and C2 systems, and leverage multi-sensor fusion capabilities unique to DroneSentry-C2TM. As a sensor agnostic, open architecture platform, DroneSentry-C2 TM brings advanced interoperability and flexibility to users.

Oleg Vornik, DroneShield’s CEO, commented, “DroneShield has continued to rapidly scale our US efforts. In support of that, we work closely with our customers and partners to incorporate real-world feedback into the continuous development of our solutions.  The specific shaping and standardizing of our offerings to meet the requirements of the US Department of Defense and MIL-STD-2525 is an important part of this work and a testament of our commitment to our customer and their mission.”

For enquiries, please contact [email protected].

DroneShield and Squarehead Partner in the C-UAS Space

Friday, December 11th, 2020

DroneShield Ltd’s (ASX:DRO or DRO.AU) (“DroneShield”), a pioneer and global leader in the C-UAS sector, and Squarehead, a Norwegian-based acoustic array technology company, have entered into a partnership in the C-UAS space.


DroneShield’s DroneSentryTM multi-sensor C-UAS system with integrated Squarehead Discovair G2TM acoustic direction finding sensors

Going forward, DroneShield will be offering an integrated system for C-UAS detection and mitigation, with DroneShield’s radiofrequency, radar and camera-based UAS detection and electronic warfare UAS defeat products integrated with Squarehead’s Discovair G2TM direction-finding acoustic system, within DroneSentry-C2TM airspace awareness, command-and-control and reporting software. This product integration of the two companies’ offerings has been completed, and the combined solution is available to customers at present. The combined system is presently undergoing test evaluation schedule with the U.S. Department of Defense.

Squarehead CEO Stig Nyvold said: “We are pleased to enter into the partnership with DroneShield in the rapidly emerging C-UAS space. C-UAS security and airspace awareness is becoming an increasing problem for  wide range of military and civilian customers, and we expect our capability to detect any drone in the near field to provide a great added layer in DroneShield’s solution.”

Oleg Vornik, DroneShield’s CEO, added: “This partnership combines DroneShield best-in-class C-UAS sensors and effectors with Squarehead’s expertise in the acoustic domain. The combined system is already being evaluated by the US military, and we look forward to rolling this out globally, with an extensive schedule in front of us over next several months, including Europe and the US.”

Navy Announces Aerial Vehicle Operator Warrant Officer Specialty

Friday, December 11th, 2020

The Navy announced a new warrant officer specialty designator whose job will be to operate carrier-based MQ-25 Stingray unmanned aerial vehicles, which are expected to start appearing in fleet carrier air wings sometime in 2024.

The Navy announced a new warrant officer specialty designator whose job will be to operate carrier-based MQ-25 Stingray unmanned aerial vehicles, which are expected to start appearing in fleet carrier air wings sometime in 2024.

The establishment of the Aerial Vehicle Operator (AVO) warrant officer specialty became a reality Dec. 9 with Secretary of the Navy Kenneth J. Braithwaite’s approval of the new designator, which was announced in NAVADMIN 315/20.

Over the next 6-10 years, the Navy will recruit, train and send to the fleet, a community of roughly 450 warrants in grades W-1 through W-5.

Those selected for the program will first complete Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I. Upon graduation, they will be designated as Warrant Officer One and must complete basic flight training as well as advanced training on the MQ-25 aerial vehicle. Once complete with basic flight training, these officers will earn their own distinctive Navy “wings of gold” warfare device and be assigned the 737X designator.

“AVO’s will start out operating the MQ-25 Stingray, the Navy’s first carrier based unmanned aerial vehicle, which is expected to join the fleet with an initial operating capability in 2024,” said Capt. Christopher Wood, aviation officer community manager at the Bureau of Naval Personnel in Millington, Tenn.  

The use of warrant officers as the primary operators of unmanned aerial vehicles came about because the expected career path they’ll have as they move up the ranks will be as technical specialists who complete repetitive tours, which fits the Navy’s model on how warrant grades are utilized.

“Unlike traditional Navy Chief Warrant Officer’s, the majority of these officers will be accessed much younger and trained along the lines of current Naval Aviators and Naval Flight Officers in the unrestricted designators,” Wood said.

“However, Naval Aviators and Naval Flight Officers require assignments that progress in tactical and leadership scope to be competitive for promotion, while warrant officer AVO’s will be technical specialists and spend their careers as operators.”

Navy Recruiting Command will begin accepting applications for initial AVO accessions in fiscal year 2022. In addition to street-to-fleet warrants, enlisted Sailors will also be able to apply for the program, and potentially earn the 737X warrant officer designator.

“Currently, the plan is to grow the community from the ground up with Warrant Officer AVOs,” Wood said.  “However, Naval Aviation will continue to evaluate the requirements of the program as it matures.”

Commanding and executive officers, as well as department heads of MQ-25 squadrons, will be filled by aviators and flight officers administratively screened for those commands.

“During the first 4-5 years of the program, some MQ-25 AVOs will come from other Type/Model/Series as we build up the knowledge base, with the first 3-4 deployments having a mix of existing unrestricted line and new warrants making up the ready room.”

And though right now the community will be focused on the MQ-25, in the future, warrant officer AVOs may also operate the MQ-4C Triton while on shore duty following their initial MQ-25 sea tour.  As the Navy’s footprint in unmanned aerial vehicles increases, so could the scope of the AVO community.  

AeroVironment Introduces Extended Range Antenna, Expanding UAS Command and Control up to 40 Kilometers in a Lightweight, Portable Form Factor

Thursday, December 10th, 2020

• Cost-effective optional antenna array kit designed to integrate seamlessly with AeroVironment’s standard RF head antenna  

• Provides operators 100 percent greater controllable range over standard RF head antenna with minimal logistical footprint

• Add-on kit narrows antenna beam width, extending command and control range up to 40 km


AeroVironment’s new Extended Range Antenna (Photo: AeroVironment)

SIMI VALLEY, Calif., Dec. 10, 2020 – AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), today announced the introduction of its Extended Range Antenna (ERA), the latest addition to AeroVironment’s growing line of network connectivity solutions. The ERA is a lightweight, portable antenna array kit designed to integrate seamlessly with AeroVironment’s standard RF head antenna to support a diverse range of missions.

The ERA add-on kit narrows the antenna beam width, extending the command and control range up to 40 kilometers (24.9 miles) with minimal impact to its size, weight and power (SWAP) footprint. Similar to the standard RF head antenna, the ERA is manually positioned. The included RF Unit switch allows users to toggle between omnidirectional mode, for short-range operations, and extended range mode, for longer-range operations. The ERA supports both M1/2/5 and M3/4/6 Digital Data Link (DDL) operating bands.

By adding the ERA kit to their existing AeroVironment RF antenna, UAS flight operators can immediately expand their operational capabilities, gaining actionable battlefield intelligence at greater stand-off range to maximize their stealth and safety. When used in combination with other AeroVironment network connectivity options, the ERA provides an enhanced level of operational flexibility. This enables teams to coordinate command and control transfer of UAS, such as Puma LE, easily over greater distances, maximizing the aircraft’s multi-mission capabilities, in day or night operations, across dynamically changing environments.   

“AeroVironment continues to incorporate direct customer and user feedback into our product development investments to address increasingly complex and dynamic mission requirements,” said Rick Pedigo, AeroVironment vice president of sales and business development. “Not only do operators benefit from available options in terms of UAS capabilities, but they can also benefit from a selection of antenna options that are portable, easy to operate and provide extended range and multi-mission capabilities.”

Further expanding its connectivity solutions, AeroVironment recently announced updates to its Long Range Tracking Antenna (LRTA), which it now offers in two versions to support M1/2/5 and M3/4/6 DDL frequency bands. AeroVironment’s network connectivity product line includes the pocketable, short-range pDDL (5 km), standard RF antenna (20 km), ERA (40 km) and LRTA (60 km) capabilities in both M1/2/5 and M3/4/6 bands.

For more information on AeroVironment’s network connectivity solutions, visit www.avinc.com/tuas/network-connectivity.