AeroVironment (of Raven, Puma and Wasp fame) has a high-altitude long-endurance UAV named Global Observer. It flies at 65,000’ for a week or more at a time, has up to a 600-mile diameter footprint and can carry a heavy payload of sensors and cameras.
Lockheed Martin's experience with mission and ground systems technology and the integration of that into UAS is the primary purpose for the agreement.
“Numerous customers are seeking persistent solutions for wide-area applications, such as border surveillance and communications, that are much more affordable than those available previously,” says Roy Minson, AeroVironment senior vice president and general manager of its Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment. “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.”
It should be noted that Lockheed Martin has been on an acquisition kick the last year or two picking up UAS manufacturers, particularly those with products for the commercial marketplace.