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Leonardo DRS announced on 13 October it has established a strategic partnership with Orlando-based Hoverfly Technologies Inc. (HTI) to manufacture HTI’s line of tethered UAS. The Leonardo DRS Land Systems business in St Louis, MO, has since received its first order from HTI, valued at over $4 million (€3.4 million).

Leonardo DRS will produce serial quantities of HTI’s LiveSky UAS in support of its growing customer base, which includes the US government, allied defence forces, global industrial companies, and other domestic and international customers. The company will also bring a wealth of platform integration and sensor payload development experience to HTI’s products, to provide customers with fully integrated UAS-based communications, detection, and electronic surveillance capabilities.

Tethered UAS technology is revolutionising government and commercial markets for long-duration, small-footprint aerial surveillance and long-range, secure communications. By enabling continuous power and high-bandwidth data through a thin tether link, LiveSky can remain on-station in the air almost indefinitely, providing surveillance, targeting, and communications relay functions, while stationary or on-the-move, from vehicles or vessels. Multiple US and allied government programmes have recognised HTI’s technology and are now incorporating tethered UAS capabilities in their requirements.

As an innovative defence contractor, we strive to quickly identify and provide our customers with cutting edge technologies to give our warfighters the edge on the battlefield,” commented Aaron Hankins, Senior VP/General Manager of the Leonardo DRS Land Systems business. “We recogniszed Hoverfly as the leading tethered UAS technology company, and now we can help Hoverfly scale this capability across a wide and growing market. This benefits our joint customers by providing accelerated yet reliable production to meet their always-challenging acquisition timelines and fielding schedules.”

Rather than scaling capacity internally, now Hoverfly and our customers can rely on Leonardo DRS’ proven production quality and its exceptional level of experience in integrating complex systems across a wide variety of platforms and mission systems,” added Robert Topping, HTI CEO.

Hoverfly’s LiveSky tethered UAS. (Image via Leonardo DRS)

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