Unmanned Helicopter Maker CybAero Lands Large Order from China


CybAero, a Sweden-based provider of unmanned helicopters, has received an order worth SEK 700 million-800 million ($104 million-$119 million) from a company in the Aviation Industry Corp. of China (AVIC).

The order was placed through an eight-year framework agreement through which AVIC has committed to purchasing at least 20 helicopter systems during the first three years and at least 50 more systems during the following five years.

Each system includes helicopters, ground stations and data links. The agreement also covers training and support. CybAero says its unmanned helicopters have a range of 20 miles and a flying time of up to six hours.

To be used by customs, coastguard services and agriculture, CybAero will establish a joint company with AVIC in order to gain access to its volumes and production expertise. In the long term, the company may carry out some production locally in China. CybAero expects to achieve economies of scale through the joint company, which may result in streamlining operations and operating closer to the local Asiatic market.

Through the joint company, AVIC will target the civil and commercial markets, including customs and coastguard services, the energy sector, agriculture, mapping, and rescue services.

“The order is the largest ever anywhere in the world in the product segment within which CybAero operates: i.e., vertical take-off and landing unmanned aerial vehicles weighing less than 200 kg,” says Mikael Hult, CEO of CybAero.

The agreement and order will not give rise to any further financing requirements for CybAero. Payments will be made by AVIC on an ongoing basis as deliveries take place.

The order is dependent on an export permit being issued by the Swedish Agency
for Non-Proliferation and Export Controls (ISP).

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