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Monday, December 3, 2012

AeroVironment, CybAero Form Partnership

AeroVironment entered into a strategic relationship with Sweden-based CybAero AB to develop and distribute a Tier II vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) unmanned aircraft system in response to requests from multiple customers. The relationship gives AeroVironment exclusive rights to provide CybAero AB systems to U.S. customers and to government customers in NATO and other countries. AeroVironment has agreed to purchase up to $3 million in convertible notes from CybAero to facilitate the company’s growth.

U.S. military customers typically segment the numerous types of unmanned aircraft systems they employ by size, weight, endurance and range into different tiers. Man-portable, hand-launched systems such as AeroVironment’s RQ-11B Raven, RQ-20A Puma AE and Wasp AE that weight less than 20 pounds comprise the Tier I segment. Tier II UAS include heavier, larger and longer endurance systems with longer range, such as CybAero’s VTOL offering. Tiers III and IV include air vehicles of increasing size, capable of even longer endurance and range and requiring larger support teams and infrastructure requirements.

“CybAero is a pioneer and leader in the Tier II VTOL market. Our joint team has demonstrated this reliable, cost-effective Tier II UAS solution that will build on AeroVironment’s family of small UAS, expanding our customer offering,” said Roy Minson, AeroVironment senior vice president and Unmanned Aircraft Systems general manager. “With its significantly greater endurance and payload capacity, small footprint and ease of use, this new system will join our family of UAS and deliver a robust vertical takeoff and landing capability to current and new customers seeking that Tier II solution.”

“We are working with CybAero to integrate their product into our system solution and will invest to add critical capabilities required to bring the most competitive offering to market,” Minson added.

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