AE Industrial Partners (AEI), which last year began building out a new space technology company through a series of acquisitions of small companies, on Thursday said it will be doing the same thing in the unmanned technology market.
AEI acquired Latvia-based UAV Factory, which develops and manufactures a small, person-sized fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), including the payloads, launcher, engine, ground control station and other components and accessories. The company has 125 employees and its UAVs are used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
UAV Factory also has an operation in Bend, Ore., where it does business development, flight support, gimbal manufacturing, and maintenance, repair and overhaul.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“UAV Factory’s engineering and technical capabilities, combined with its proven and growing set of technology solutions, are truly differentiated in the market,” Jeffrey Hart, principal at AEI, said in a statement. He added that AEI and UAV Factory “are confident that our collective strategic vision for an unmanned technology platform will yield powerful results in this fast-growing market.”
UAV Factory’s largest market is defense, but it also sells into the intelligence and commercial markets.
The company’s UAV consist of the Penguin family. The Penguin C MIL UAV has a minimum take-off weight of nearly 51-pounds, is optimized for gyro-stabilized day and night payloads weighing less than 4.5-pounds, has a 20-hour flight endurance, and radio link range of 100 kilometers. The newer Penguin C Mk2 UAV can carry payloads weighing up to 9 pounds and has achieved flights of 25.5-hours.
Konstantins Popiks, co-founder and CEO of UAV Factory, will remain with the company in a senior leadership role.
“By working closely with the AEI team, we plan to expand our technologies to provide our customers with the best-in-class, end-to-end solutions they need to make critical decisions,” Popiks said in a statement.
In an email response to questions from Defense Daily about what AEI will be adding to build on UAV Factory, the private equity firm said, “Both critical sub-system technologies that further build out our vertically integrated manufacturing capabilities as well as new platform capabilities to expand our mission capabilities.” Asked whether the new technology platform will be just for UAVs or other types of unmanned systems, the firm said for the “broader unmanned market.”
UAV Factory was founded in 2009. The company has delivered more than 300 UAVs to customers in 57 countries.
Last June, AEI formed Redwire by combining two of its acquisitions in the space technology area, Deep Space Systems and Adcole Space. Since then, it has acquired four more small space companies and combined them with Redwire.
UAV Factory’s financial adviser on the deal was Houlihan Lokey. PricewaterhouseCoopers advised AEI.