Oregon-based FLIR Systems Inc. has acquired high-performance drone developer Aeryon Labs Inc. for $200 million, reinforcing FLIR’s long-term strategy to move beyond providing sensors and into marketing complete unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) solutions.
Based in Waterloo, Canada, with U.S. offices in Denver and Salt Lake City, Aeryon develops vertical- takeoff-and-landing quad-copter airframes that integrate multiple sensors—including FLIR thermal technology. Its drones—made for the military, public safety and infrastructure markets—offer high-resolution intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability.
“This acquisition, coupled with our acquisition of Prox Dynamics in 2016, greatly increases our unmanned systems solutions capabilities, expanding beyond nano-UAS into Group 1 UAS solutions for military,” said Jim Cannon, FLIR Systems president and CEO. “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, founded in 2007, designs and manufactures Group 1 UAS solutions built around aircraft weighing less than 20 pounds. Aeryon’s family of UAS are deployed by 20 militaries in more than 30 countries around the world, including the U.S. Department of Defense. Aeryon develops UAS solutions that include hardware, embedded software, ground control stations, sensors and software for flight operations, as well as supporting services for its global customers.
Dave Kroetsch, co-founder and chief technology officer of Aeryon Labs, said, “As drone technology and its markets evolve, customers are seeking UAS as just one component of a broader solution. While Aeryon has been evolving in that direction for the past few years, being part of FLIR Systems brings a path to include our hardware and software technologies in much bigger solutions than would have ever been possible on our own.”
Cannon noted that Aeryon’s SkyRanger UAS is rucksack portable and can be deployed in minutes by a single operator. He said the SkyRanger is renowned for operating in demanding environments and inclement weather, including at high altitudes, gusting winds and rain and snow.
Aeryon Labs is now part of the FLIR Government and Defense Business Unit’s Unmanned Systems and Integrated Solutions division. The transaction is expected to be $0.02 dilutive to FLIR Systems’ 2019 earnings due to anticipated product development investments, and accretive thereafter.
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