Saab AB and UMS Aero Group AG, a Swiss supplier of tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are forming a joint venture to offer UAVs, Saab said Monday.

The joint venture will be named UMS Skeldar AG and is meant to strengthen Saab’s offerings in the tactical UAV market, the Saab said. Saab plans to transfer all assets related to the Skeldar unmanned helicopter to UMS Skeldar.

An infographic explaining the future offerings of the joint venture, UMA Skeldar. Image: Saab AB.
An infographic explaining the future offerings of the joint venture, UMA Skeldar. Image: Saab AB.

UMS Skeldar is set to be a “multi-skilled enterprise with all the capabilities necessary to manage and deliver UAV programmes,” Saab said in a statement.

The venture will include development, manufacture, testing, training and maintenance of UAVs, plus associated systems like ground stations, communications links and data terminals.

UMS Skeldar’s product portfolio is to consist of four certified vehicles in the 20-250 kg weight range, consisting of the Skeldar UAV helicopter, two fixed-wing UAVs, and another rotary-wing UAV.

“Through UMS Skeldar we are securing access to a portfolio that complements Saab’s other investments in autonomous systems in an excellent way. This partnership brings increased focus to the marketing and sales of Skeldar and other unmanned systems,” Ulf Nilsson, head of the aeronautics business area of Saab, said in a statement.

“Through the joint venture we are able to offer the market a combination of the smaller company’s flexibility and Saab’s extensive experience within the field of aviation,” Nilsson, added.

“Our combined portfolios make it possible to meet customer requirements within several segments, whether it be defense, ‘blue light forces’ or civilian customers,” said Jakob Baumann, CEO at UMS Skeldar.

The operations at UMS Skeldar will involve about 55 employees with a head office in Möhlin, Switzerland, and a second office established in Linköping, Sweden.

Saab’s holdings in the joint venture amount to 47 percent.