[Avionics Today February 7, 2014] Lockheed Martin and AeroVironment signed an agreement at the Defense Expo in New Delhi, India to jointly pursue new opportunities within the global Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) market.
The Global Observer UAS. Photo, courtesy of AeroVironment.
Both companies are known individually for their UAS products that have been deployed by international military forces, including Lockheed's Desert Hawk III and AeroVironment's Raven. According to a statement from AeroVironment, the primary focus of the joint venture will be integrating Lockheed's mission systems, ground systems and technology with AeroVironment's Global Observer UAS.
The Global Observer is currently in the development phase for AeroVironment. It has an operating altitude of 65,000 feet with a liquid hydrogen powered propulsion system and the ability to provide weather monitoring, wildfire detection and aerial imaging.
“Using our expertise in systems integration and AeroVironment’s knowledge of unmanned aircraft solutions, we will together look for opportunities to develop innovative technologies that create value," said Paul Lemmo, senior vice president of corporate strategy and business development for Lockheed Martin.
Although the agreement was announced at an international military show, the two companies could use the new partnership to explore civil and commercial UAS opportunities as well. AeroVironment describes the Global Observer as being designed to "satisfy numerous high value civil and commercial applications."
Roy Minson, senior vice president and general manager for AeroVironment's UAS business segment said the two companies will work together to develop "end-to-end atmospheric satellite systems built around Global Observer."
"Numerous customers are seeking persistent solutions for wide area applications, such as border surveillance and communications, that are much more affordable than those available previously," said Minson.