Anduril Industries on Thursday said it has acquired Area-I in a deal that builds out its line of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) with fixed-wing aircraft and related technologies.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Area-I, which is based in the Atlanta area, has 73 employees.
Area-I has three product lines built around the ALTIUS family of UAS systems, and a UAS testbed system it bills as a “flying laboratory” to evaluate various technologies. The company’s primary customer is the Army for the Air Launched Effects program. The Air Force, Navy, Special Operations Command and NASA are also customers.
The ALTIUS UAS suite includes the tube-launched 15-pound 500 and 20 to 27-pound 600 systems, and the high-endurance 900, which weighs 80 pounds and is intended to be launched from a 1,000-pound class bomb rack on an aircraft.
Area-I’s 150- to 300-pound PTERA laboratory UAS is used to evaluate sensors, controls, aerodynamic treatments and other technologies as a bridge “between wind tunnel test and manned flight.”
“This is a great strategic fit for our companies,” Brian Shimpf, co-founder and CEO of Anduril, said in a statement. “By adding ALTIUS to our suite of products including our Lattice software platform we are increasing Anduril’s value to our defense customers.”
Lattice is based on artificial intelligence and uses computer vision, machine learning and mesh networking to fuse real-time data into a single, autonomous operating picture, Anduril says on its website. The company’s existing products, which include small vertical take-off-and-landing (VTOL) UAS and sensor towers used for base and border security, include Lattice for sensor fusion, target classification and multi-track reconciliation at the edge.
Anduril’s VTOL small UAS products include the man-portable Ghost 4 for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance applications, and the Anvil, which can navigate autonomously to carry out counter-drone missions.
For Area-I, the investment means more investment in research and development, as well as hiring, business development, and government relations. The company had been dependent on its contract funding before the transaction with Anduril.
“The new capital will enable us to further accelerate our innovations and continue to set the standard by which other tube-launched UAS are measured,” Nicholas Alley, founder and CEO of Area-I, said in a statement.
Anduril will keep the Area-I brand. Area-I’s financial adviser on the deal was BlackArch Partners.