AeroVironment and Eurocopter have agreed to explore business opportunities for their respective products.
The cooperative accord was announced this week at the annual Association of the U.S. Army conference and exhibition in Washington and follows urging from industry and government in Europe for the development and manufacture of European Unmanned Aerial Systems.
"AeroVironment's extensive operational UAS experience in delivering to end-users reliable solutions working effectively in harsh operating environments makes us uniquely positioned to understand customers' requirements and to determine future market trends," said Clive Schley, Eurocopter's senior vice president, strategy and company development. "This cooperation will be particularly valuable as Eurocopter defines its unmanned product strategy, building on the success of our first unmanned flights with the EC145 helicopter this year."
"The combination of AeroVironment's market leading unmanned technology and unique knowledge with Eurocopter's world-class helicopter and systems expertise makes a formidable team," said Roy Minson, senior vice president and general manager of AeroVironment's Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment. "This cooperative agreement creates the opportunity for both companies to explore expanding into new markets and developing new capabilities to meet future customer needs."
The European focus on unmanned aerial systems is primarily in regard to large, medium-altitude, long-endurance aircraft such as the Grey Eagle and Predator by U.S. manufacturers. EADS, Eurocopter's parent company, is currently developing the Talon medium-altitude, long-endurance with Turkish Aerospace Industries. Another EADS subsidiary, Cassidian, makes small unmanned aircraft systems.