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By Nick Wakeman

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FLIR's UAS acquisition continues strong interest in market

The unmanned systems market continues to be a hotbed of activity as FLIR Systems is buying $200 million deal for Aeryon Labs Inc.

For FLIR, they see the acquisition as adding increased capabilities around airframes that can integrate multiple sensors.

Aeryon builds unmanned systems that weigh less than 20 pounds and can be carried in a backpack. They are used by military organizations in 30 countries including the United States, according to a FLIR announcement Monday.

Aeryon was already integrating FLIR’s thermal technology among the sensors on its airframe to enhance intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.

FLIR has been building a broader unmanned systems portfolio since it acquired nano-UAS maker Prox Dynamics in 2016.

Aeryon Labs offerings include hardware, embedded software, ground control stations, sensors, software for flight operations and support services.

“The acquisition of Aeryon Labs reinforces our long-term strategy to move beyond providing sensors to the development of complete solutions that save lives and livelihoods,” said Jim Cannon, president and CEO of FLIR Systems. “We intend to continue to invest and build this area of our business and broaden our capabilities as we view unmanned and autonomous solutions to be a significant opportunity for organic growth in the coming years.”

Aeryon Labs is now part of the FLIR Government and Defense Business Unit’s unmanned systems and integrated solutions division.

Cannon’s optimism about the unmanned systems market is borne out in some of the activity we’ve tracked, including large contract awards and mergers and acquisition activity.

Last year for example, the Navy awarded an $800 million IDIQ contract to support research and development around unmanned underwater vehicles. The Army also created a $248 million multiple-award contract for unmanned aircraft systems.

We’ve also seen large companies such as L3 Technologies make acquisitions. Boeing and Lockheed Martin also increasingly moved into unmanned systems, either through acquisitions of their own or by making venture capital investments in emerging companies.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Jan 28, 2019 at 10:00 AM

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