Texas Aircraft Manufacturer Enters Agriculture UAS Industry

Olney, Texas-based aircraft manufacturer Air Tractor Inc. has expanded into the field of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) with its recent acquisition of Hangar 78 UAV, which offers its flagship Yield Defender UAS for agriculture.

Air Tractor says the acquisition will complement the company’s agricultural and firefighting aircraft lines. Air Tractor produces a line of nine aircraft, including 400-, 500-, 600- and 800-gallon-capacity airplanes powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 turbine engines.

In tandem with the purchase, Wes Hall, former managing partner at Hangar 78 UAV, has been appointed vice president of UAS technologies to lead integration and further development for Yield Defender.

Hall says, “This acquisition allows us to widen our engineering expertise, reach global markets, offer cutting-edge technology and expand our customer-support solutions.”

Yield Defender, specifically engineered to serve the agriculture industry, uses near-infrared, thermal imaging and LiDAR technology integrated with the CropVue Web-based flight management system. Manufacturing, research and development of the UAS will also be headquartered in Olney.


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