July 17, 2024
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Australian military buys AeroVironment drones


AeroVironment will enter the business of supplying the Australian military with a transaction involving its Wasp drones.

AeroVironment said in a Sept. 6 news release that it sold an unnamed numbers of its Wasp AE family of drones to the Australian Armed Forces. AeroVironment will partner with Australian firms XTEK Limited, Sentient Vision and General Dynamics for its initial foray into Australia.

Based in Monrovia, AeroViornment develops and builds unmanned aircraft at a large factory in Simi Valley.

Developed in 2007 the Wasp drone is a family of lightweight drones that can take high quality video used for surveillance. Each Wasp drone weighs 2.8 pounds and has a 29-inch wingspan that is designed for ground and water landings.

Each Wasp system AE consists of two drones and one ground control system. Each drone has a range of 5 kilometers and 50 minutes of flight.

“Teaming with XTEK, Sentient and General Dynamics Mediaware is key to ensuring our customer’s success as its forces rely on the versatile capabilities of our Wasp AE systems,” said Kirk Flittie, vice president and general manager of AeroVironment’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems business, in the Sept. 6 release.

The announcement comes about a month after the U.S. Navy tested a different AeroViornment drone near Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Founded in 1971, the company is best known for developing the first human powered airplane as well as several solar aircraft. In 2011, the company created a hummingbird-shaped drone equipped with a small video camera that can be used for indoor and outdoor surveillance for about 10 minutes.

AeroVironment shares closed the day down 75 cents to $24.08 per share.

• Contact Philip Joens at pjoens@pacbiztimes.com.