VTOL UAS for ISTAR Missions Acquired by Airbus

Airbus has acquired Aerovel and its Flexrotor Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial system (UAS), designed for expeditionary missions requiring minimal footprint By William Mackenzie / 17 May 2024
VTOL UAS for ISTAR Missions Acquired by Airbus
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Airbus has finalized the acquisition of U.S.-based Aerovel and its unmanned aerial system (UAS), Flexrotor, expanding its portfolio of tactical unmanned solutions. 

Flexrotor is a small tactical UAS designed for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions at sea and over land. 

The Flexrotor, a modern Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) unmanned aircraft with a maximum launch weight of 25 kg (55 lbs), 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 customers’ unique mission needs. With the ability to autonomously launch and recover from either land or sea requiring only a 3.7 by 3.7 m (12 by 12 ft.) area, the Flexrotor is ideal for expeditionary missions requiring minimal footprint. 

The Flexrotor is being operated for parapublic missions such as forest fire surveillance (providing firefighters with critical images day or night) and can address other demanding mission needs, including ice navigation (helping guide naval vessels through ice in the Arctic ocean), law enforcement, and border patrol.

Through the support of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), and contracted deployment in a variety of maritime security exercises, the Flexrotor is a mission-proven, force multiplier for operations in harsh, high-threat, GPS-denied environments.

Aerovel will continue to design and manufacture the Flexrotor in Bingen, Washington in an existing and mature UAS ecosystem.

Mathilde Royer, Head of Strategy and Sustainability at Airbus Helicopters, commented; “We see more and more armed forces and parapublic agencies around the world looking to investigate how unmanned aerial systems can strengthen their intelligence and surveillance capabilities. 

“The Flexrotor, as a vertical takeoff and landing UAS, fits into our strategy to expand our UAS offerings. Together with the VSR700, we will continue to develop manned-unmanned teaming to offer our customers the enhanced and expanded mission capabilities that they require to monitor and safeguard their communities and critical infrastructure, while preserving essential assets such as helicopters.”

Posted by William Mackenzie Connect & Contact
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