AeroViroment, Eurocopter Join Forces

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AeroVironment, which manufactures more unmanned aircraft systems than anyone else, has signed an agreement to work with Eurocopter, the two companies announced this week. They plan to cooperate to create new products for both military and commercial customers. "This agreement creates the opportunity for both companies to explore expanding into new markets and developing new capabilities," said Roy Minson, a spokesman for AeroVironment. Eurocopter completed its first unmanned flights with the EC145 helicopter earlier this year.

The EC145 was tested on missions including deployment of an external sling load and general observation. AeroVironment developed the first hand-launched unmanned aircraft for military surveillance in 1987. The company has delivered more than 20,000 small unmanned air vehicles to customers around the world. Eurocopter supports nearly 12,000 civil and military helicopters in 148 countries.