Textron goes to ground with unmanned acquisition

Textron has gone to the ground for an acquisition aimed at growing the industrial conglomerate’s portfolio of unmanned and other autonomous technologies.

The Textron Systems segment is acquiring robotic land vehicle maker Howe & Howe Technologies for an undisclosed sum and expects to close the transaction in mid-December.

But with this bolt-on deal, Textron Systems said Thursday it is positioning itself to be “a global leader in autonomy across the air, land and sea domains.”

Textron Systems is largely known for its lineup of unmanned aerial vehicles and also builds the Navy’s Command Unmanned Surface Vehicle that operates on-water. Howe & Howe stands to add the ground component through its Ripsaw Super Tank and RS2-H1 SMET vehicles, both of which are in use by the U.S. government.

The addition of Howe & Howe aims to put Textron Systems in position to take share in a market rebounding from previous spending lows and moving toward longer-term programs of record versus the quicker purchases during the wars of Afghanistan and Iraq.

A report from Bard College’s Center for the Study of the Drone estimates fiscal year 2019 spending on unmanned ground vehicles at $429 million with nearly $343 million of that slated for research-and-development.

That total is a sharp climb from $212 million for fiscal 2017 and $310 million for fiscal 2018. And Govini is forecasting a compound annual growth rate of 10.2 percent for unmanned ground spending through fiscal 2021.

About the Author

Ross Wilkers is a senior staff writer for Washington Technology. He can be reached at rwilkers@washingtontechnology.com. Follow him on Twitter: @rosswilkers. Also connect with him on LinkedIn.

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