AeroVironment invests in CybAero, will distribute larger, longer-endurance vertical takeoff and landing unmanned aircraft system

MONROVIA, Calif., 10 Dec. 2012. AeroVironment Inc. (NASDAQ:AVAV), having entered into a strategic relationship with CybAero AB in Sweden, will develop and distribute a Tier II vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) unmanned aircraft system (UAS) in response to customer requests and requirements.

AeroVironment gains exclusive rights to provide CybAero AB systems to customers in the United States and government customers in NATO and other countries. AeroVironment, also under the agreement, will purchase up to $3 million in convertible notes from CybAero to facilitate the company’s growth.

“With its significantly greater endurance and payload capacity, small footprint and ease of use, this new system will join our family of UAS and deliver a robust vertical takeoff and landing capability to current and new customers seeking that Tier II solution,” says Roy Minson, AeroVironment senior vice president and Unmanned Aircraft Systems general manager. “Our joint team has demonstrated this reliable, cost-effective Tier II UAS solution that will build on AeroVironment’s family of small UAS, expanding our customer offering.”

U.S. military customers typically segment UAS, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) by size, weight, endurance, and range, explains an AeroVironment representative. Man-portable, hand-launched systems--such as AeroVironment’s RQ-11B Raven, RQ-20A Puma AE, and Wasp AE--that weigh less than 20 pounds comprise the Tier I segment. Tier II UAS include heavier, larger, and longer-endurance systems with longer range, such as CybAero’s VTOL device. Tiers III and IV include air vehicles of increasing size, capable of even longer endurance and range and requiring larger support teams and infrastructure requirements.

“AeroVironment is the clear leader in the man-portable, hand-launched UAS market, with an intimate understanding of customer operational requirements,” says Leif Erlandsson, CybAero’s chief executive officer. “We believe that AeroVironment possesses the experience, relationships and systems integration skills to bring all the benefits of our VTOL system to customers in the United States and beyond.”

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