Lockheed Martin [LMT] on Tuesday said it has made a second investment in the unmanned maritime systems company Ocean Aero, a multi-million dollar investment aimed at helping the California-based company ramp up its production capacity.
Lockheed Martin said that that its strategic investment in a Series B funding round came alongside another multi-million dollar infusion from Energy Innovation Capital (EIC), the first by the firm in the unmanned maritime systems market.
Lockheed Martin’s interest in California-based Ocean Aero is in the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance area for the maritime environment and EIC is interested in the energy and other commercial sectors.
“Since our initial investment in Ocean Aero last September, the company has continued to make great progress with the development of its unique technology,” Chris Moran, executive director and general manager of Lockheed Martin Ventures, said in a statement. “The additional investments will allow Ocean Aero to scale its production capabilities and meet the diverse set of demands of a growing customer base using environmentally-powered, autonomous systems.”
The amount of Lockheed Martin’s strategic investment last September wasn’t disclosed then. The company said that with its latest investment, it along with EIC and the Marine segment of Teledyne Technologies [TDY] are the primary investors in Ocean Aero.
Ocean Aero is developing its Submaran, a hybrid wind and solar-powered surface and subsurface vessel for extended ocean observation and data collection. The company in March said the Submaran had recently completed an 11-day endurance test along the coast of California, autonomously navigating its way from Monterey Bay to west of the Channel Islands near Long Beach.
“We learned a lot and confirmed that our technology continues to perform at peak levels as we improve our production capabilities,” Eric Patten, Ocean Aero’s CEO, said in a statement at the time. “We look forward to further long-distance, operational missions in 2018.”
Lockheed Martin said that it participated with the Submaran on a “successful, multi-domain unmanned systems technology demonstration during a naval technology exercise at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, R.I. The Submaran relayed instructions to Lockheed Martin’s Marlin autonomous underwater vehicle, instructing it to launch” the small unmanned aircraft system Vector Hawk.