Elbit & GD Create, Dissolve UAS Dynamics LLC for US Market
The UAV market’s low cost of entry is spurring manufacturers around the world to enter, or re-enter, the military aircraft market as prime contractors. That’s also true in the USA, where former aviation powerhouses Northrop and Grumman have a stable of high-end UAVs; and Raytheon unveiled the Killer Bee 4, which will become a full-spectrum UAV family.
Even former fighter manufacturer General Dynamics stepped back in for a while, via a May 2009 partnership between Elbit Systems of America, LLC and General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products…
The popular Skylark family includes the hand-launched Skylark I mini-UAV, and the larger, catapult-launched Skylark II. So far, it has been difficult to gain traction against Aerovironment’s popular RQ-11B Raven and Puma AE hand-helds, though Lockheed Martin’s Desert Hawk III has apparently made some inroads.
The larger, widely-exported Hermes 450 is Elbit’s most significant UAS. It serves as Britain’s Watchkeeper medium UAV via a European joint venture with Thales, and with a number of export customers around the world including with the US Dept. of Homeland Security.
The new Hermes 900 will give UAS Dynamics an offering that’s fully competitive with General Atomics’ Predator system as a division-level UAV, but falls short of the MQ-9 Reaper’s payload capabilities.
May 17/09: UAS Dynamics, LLC is a 50/50 joint venture located in Fort Mill, SC. General Dynamics’ Doug Tobiassen, formerly the senior director of program management for advanced programs at General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products, will be its President. Paul Keller, currently at Elbit Systems of America, will serve as the executive vice president of UAS Dynamics and brings 30 years of experience to his position.
The firm will sell UAVs based on Elbit’s widely-exported Skylark and Hermes designs to U.S. government customers. This will give them a full line of UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) offerings. Elbit Systems [PDF] | General Dynamics | AINOnline | Defense News.