Fixed-wing, large UAV manufacturers each get private investment

By Luke Geiver | March 17, 2016

A French-based unmanned aircraft vehicle (UAV) manufacturer and a Virginia-based advanced aerospace technology developer have each received external funding from private investment firms.

Delair-Tech’s $14.5 million

Delair-Tech, the French firm formed by four engineers in 2011 has received $14.5 million from the French investment firm Andromede. The money will be put towards international expansion, greater manufacturing capabilities and the opening of Delair-Services, an aerial imaging solutions offering for major industrial groups.

Delair-Tech has developed two fixed-wing UAS offerings that can be configured for a range of end-use applications including agricultural and surveying. The company has a presence in Australia and plans to open a subsidiary in the U.S. and China later this year.

The company has worked with several commercial end-users to date, experience that has helped the team of 50 create solutions for the acquisition, manipulation and analysis of data captured via UAV for specific clients, according to the company. The desire to combine high-tech drones with the power of big data is the reason the company created its service division.

“By creating Delair-Services, we are outreaching to clients who wish to take advantage of this booming technology to improve the management of their business on a daily basis,” said Michael de Lagarde, CEO. “Delair-Services provides turnkey results, focused on strategic issues and produced by experts, preventing the need for our clients to create an internal drone system.”

Aurora Flight Sciences Funding Plans

Based out of Virginia, Aurora Flight Sciences will use an undisclosed investment amount from Enlightenment Capital—an aerospace, defense and goverment-focused investment firm—to help the company expand its manufacturing and development abilities.

Aurora has developed an optionally manned large aircraft and is currently working on a vertical take-off and landing capable large UAV.

Earlier this month, DARPA awarded Aurora an $89 million contract to build the VTOL aircraft. “Over the 25 years since Aurora was founded, we’ve demonstrated a commitment to innovation in unmanned aircraft systems, advanced aeronautic design and, more recently, robotic systems that are defing the future of autonomous flight,” said John Lanford, CEO and founder of Aurora. Lanford added, “This investment by Enlightenment Capital supports our efforts to grow in line with our customers’ requirements. The proven aerospace and defense sector expertise at Enlightenment Capital will ensure our strategy and investments remain aligned to expanding military and commercial market opportunities.”