BAE Acquires UAV Maker ACR for $14.7M
BAE Systems recently completed its $14.7 million acquisition of Advanced Ceramics Research, a Tucson, AZ-based maker of small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and ceramic materials for military and commercial application. The initial agreement was originally announced on March 12/09; this latest step represents its finalization and approval. The company will now become part of BAE Systems, Inc., headquartered in Rockville, MD.
Advanced Ceramics Research manufactures 3 UAV platforms, and provides related support capabilities to the U.S. armed forces and civilian government agencies:
Manta is a gas powered UAV with 6-8 hour duration, able to carry a 15-18 pound payload. The system is also capable of autonomous takeoffs and landings, and was also developed in cooperation with the ONR. One flight involving work for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography involved tracking atmospheric pollutants via the autonomous operation and stacking of 3 Manta UAVs. Manta is currently awaiting NAVAIR certification.
Silver Fox is a small gas/electric UAV with 8-10 hour endurance. It can carry a 5-8 pound payload and capable of autonomous takeoffs and landings. Silver Fox was developed by ACR in cooperation with the US Office of Naval Research (ONR) and Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), and has been certified as operational by NAVAIR. Their uses have included deployment from US Navy river boats in Iraq.
Coyote is an electric mini-UAV with 1.0-1.5 hour endurance, able to carry a 1 pound payload. It can be launched from the sonobuoy tube of an aircraft or helicopter in flight, and is capable of autonomous landing. NAVAIR certification is currently in process.
These UAV platforms are supported by Advanced Ceramic Research’s integrated ground control station, a ruggedized and weather-resistant system capable of supporting multiple UAS operations via touch screens that simultaneously show real-time video.
BAE Systems President and CEO Walt Havenstein said that:
“This acquisition will provide BAE Systems with an excellent set of mature, operational products within the small/mini and tactical UAS [unmanned aerial system] market… The addition of these smaller UAS platforms will complement the larger UAS, being developed by BAE Systems in the United Kingdom.”