San Fernando Valley Business Journal

AeroVironment, Lockheed Martin Sign Drone Deal

By Mark Madler Friday, February 7, 2014

AeroVironment Inc. and Lockheed Martin Corp. signed a joint development and international sales agreement for the Global Observer drone aircraft, the companies announced Friday.

AeroVironment, in Monrovia, develops, manufactures and tests its unmanned aircraft in Simi Valley, including the Global Observer, a hydrogen-powered high-altitude aircraft with a 175-foot wing span.

Lockheed Martin is based in Bethesda, Md. but operates its advanced development programs, commonly referred to as its Skunk Works site, in Palmdale.

The agreement would have Lockheed mission systems and ground systems technology installed in the Global Observer, which would be used in surveillance, communication relays and remote sensing.

The aircraft, still in the testing stage, will provide communications and surveillance more cost-effectively, said Roy Minson, senior vice president and general manager of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment at AeroVironment.

“Lockheed Martin’s broad systems integration expertise gives us the opportunity to work together and develop innovative, end-to-end atmospheric satellite systems built around Global Observer that deliver breakthrough capabilities to customers,” Minson said in a prepared statement.

Shares of AeroVironment rose $1.80, or more than 6 percent, to $29.52 on the Nasdaq.