AAI Unmanned Systems forms strategic alliance with AME Unmanned Aircraft Systems, a Chandler/May Company
From Chandler/May’s press release:
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. and HUNT VALLEY, Md. — August 16, 2011 — AME Unmanned Systems, a Chandler/May, Inc. company, and AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), an operating unit of Textron Systems, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, announced today that the two companies have entered into a strategic alliance agreement regarding unmanned systems development.
“AAI and Chandler/May have enjoyed a long, successful working relationship for several years,” says President and Chief Executive Officer John Purvis of AME Unmanned Systems. “This new endeavor is a natural next step considering the combined UAS experience and expertise of both AAI UAS and AME Unmanned Systems.”
Under the agreement, the companies have agreed to work together to provide a more comprehensive UAS offering to U.S. and international customers by exploring solutions for electronic warfare and other special missions. The two companies also intend to work together on integration of AME’s Fury® UAS with AAI’s UAS launcher and ground control products.
“We share the goal of supporting the warfighter with the broadest set of capabilities possible,” says Senior Vice President and General Manager Steven Reid of AAI UAS. “Our collaboration will enable us to rapidly deliver on a wider range of customer requirements and help our end users achieve greater mission success.”
By way of background, AAI Corporation is a subsidiary of Textron Systems and a leader in the UAV industry. Its Unmanned Aircraft Systems group has designed, manufactured and fielded combat-proven unmanned aircraft systems for more than 25 years. Its foremost unmanned system is the highly regarded RQ-7 Shadow® Tactical UAS, in service with both the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. Shadow systems have amassed a record number of operational hours, including vital support of warfighters in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The RQ-7 Shadow is a current DoD Program or Record and over 100 Shadow UAVs have been built and delivered to date.
Additionally, AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems developed an interoperability network of common ground control systems — the U.S. Army’s designated One System® Ground Control Station, One System Portable Ground Control Station, and One System Remote Video Terminal.
Chandler/May, owned by Maryland-based private equity firm Arlington Capital Partners, is a manufacturer of ruggedized C4ISR computing systems and fully integrated UAV ground control stations for prime contractors and military end-users. Their products utilize cost-efficient COTS manufacturing techniques and standard open-systems computing solutions.
In July 2009, Chandler/May acquired AME Unmanned Systems (FKA: AeroMech Engineering). AME specializes in the design and manufacture of small tactical unmanned air systems (STUAS) that specialize in ISR and electronic warfare missions. Additionally, it manufactures the flagship Fury UAV, a highly affordable runway independent small-tactical UAS. Fury, with its modular payload bay and plug-and-play architecture, provides payload capacity, endurance, and communications capabilities that have traditionally been only available on larger, and more costly, platforms.
The combination of Chandler/May’s ruggedized computing and GCS solutions with AME’s UAV platform offerings makes a compelling combination. The alliance with AAI UAS only serves to emphasize the strength of the Chandler/May business model. It would seem to make an attractive acquisition candidate for any company looking to develop its UAV business strategy or any other private equity firm looking to profit from forecast defense spending growth on unmanned systems.