AeroVironment completes acquisition of Arcturus UAV

AeroVironment, a world-leading unmanned aircraft system (UAS) manufacturer, has expanded its overall portfolio after completing the US$405m acquisition of Arcturus UAV on February 19.

The US-based UAS manufacturer revealed that it had entered a definitive agreement to purchase Arcturus on January 13 and completed the acquisition just over a month later. It added that the total cost of the deal comprises US$355m in cash and US$50m worth of AeroVironment stock.

The newly-procured Arcturus will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of AeroVironment, expanding the latter’s portfolio with the addition of new lines of medium-sized Group 2 and 3 UAS platforms. AeroVironment has not previously offered Group 3 solutions, so its acquisition of Arcturus will bridge that gap in the UAS market.

JUMP 20 [US Army/Sarah Tate]
US Army Specialist Christopher McCoy conducts an engine start of an Arcturus' JUMP 20 vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aircraft system (UAS) during a Future Tactical UAS (FTUAS) capability assessment at Fort Riley in Kansas on April 8, 2020. US Army/Sarah Tate

Based in Petaluma, California, Arcturus was founded in 2004 and employs approximately 270 employees. It solely designs and manufactures Group 2 and 3 unmanned aircraft, which weigh between 20lb and 1,300lb. The firm also provides related operational solutions, including contractor-owned, contractor-operated (COCO) services.

In a press release issued after the purchase was completed, Wahid Nawabi, president and CEO of AeroVironment, said: “As we welcome the Arcturus UAV team to AeroVironment, we commit to maintaining or exceeding the high level of service our existing and new customers experience. The JUMP 20 and T-20 platforms, combined with associated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) services, represent a significant expansion to AeroVironment’s portfolio of intelligent, multi-domain robotic systems that will enhance long-term shareholder value and help our customers around the world proceed with certainty.”

Arcturus is a leading supplier of unmanned systems to US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and is currently supporting its Mid-Endurance UAS (MEUAS) III and IV programmes – worth a combined total of US$1.4bn. It is also one of four companies to have been contracted by the US Army to develop and demonstrate next-generation UAS solutions under the service’s billion-dollar Future Tactical UAS (FTUAS) project.

The company’s product line currently includes the JUMP 20 and the T-20. The former is a multi-mission, medium endurance vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAS, which can be deployed to and from austere environments, requiring no launch equipment or paved runways. The latter is a catapult-launched, multi-mission, medium endurance platform.

Both platforms can be equipped with a range of payloads, including communication relays, electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) gimbals, 3D mapping, equipment, a synthetic aperture radar (SAR), light detection and ranging (LiDAR) systems and communications intelligence (COMINT) and signals intelligence (SIGINT) suites.