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UAV company increases Australian focus, partners with local businesses

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UMS SKELDAR, a provider of rotary unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) solutions and avionics software, has taken on a number of in-country initiatives to support its tender for a Royal Australian Navy contract, to be announced at ROTORTECH 2018.

UMS SKELDAR, a joint venture between UMS AERO and Saab, recently acquired German-based Hirth Engines, a specialist and global engine manufacturer for air, water and land applications, known for its innovative two-stroke engine products and technologies. UMS SKELDAR said this acquisition presented an opportunity to work with Perth's Orbital Corporation Limited, an international developer of UAV engines and related technologies.

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Hirth has previously engaged Orbital on several development projects including, under licence, Hirth’s air-assisted direct injection system, integrated specifically into the flagship SKELDAR V-200 – the pioneer engine in its class to operate on heavy fuels such as JP5/JP8.

The RAN Project SEA 129 Phase 5 Stage 1, which will select a UAV to go aboard the RAN’s 12 Offshore Patrol Vessels, stipulates heavy fuel for deployment from maritime platforms. The SKELDAR V-200 was the first rotary wing VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) UAV in its class to meet NATO's one-fuel policy to eliminate gasoline for safety and logistics reasons.

The Hirth Engines acquisition, and it’s licence with Orbital Corporation, joins Australian partnerships for UMS SKELDAR that includes Adelaide-headquartered Saab Australia and Melbourne-based Sentient Vision Systems, developer of proven maritime search system ViDAR (Visual Detection and Ranging system).

David Willems, UMS SKELDAR head of business development, said the acquisition of Hirth and its previous engagement with Orbital will allow the UAV specialist to deepen its presence in the Australian market.

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“We are excited to add Hirth’s production, research and innovation talent to our team. This acquisition provides us with the opportunity to gain world-class experience in the highly competitive aerospace sector focused on the UAV market and importantly develop our presence in Australia," Willems said.

"With the strategic partnerships and ongoing positive developments with NATO navies, we are confident that our maritime rotary wing VTOL solution is superior to any competitors."

The importance of the Pacific region to UMS SKELDAR was underlined by UMS SKELDAR chief executive Axel Cavalli-Bjorkman.

"Recent moves, including the Hirth acquisition, are a logical extension of our strategy to further develop our leading position as a pioneer of the heavy fuel engine at the heart of our rotary wing UAV VTOL platforms," he said.

"The strategic focus on maritime domains and world navies in particular demonstrates our focus and determination to be first choice provider in military and civilian maritime markets."

ROTORTECH is hosted by the Australian Helicopter Industry Association Limited between 24-26th May, and aims to bring together leading players from all sectors of the rotary-wing industry - operators, helicopter and equipment manufacturers, suppliers, service providers, pilots and engineers.

UAV company increases Australian focus, partners with local businesses
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