US military demand drives aerovironment

UAVS A 9% sales increase to $42.2 million helped AeroVironment increase its unmanned aerial vehicles gross margin by 5% to £17.5 million during its third quarter ended 26 January. In its financial year to date, sector margin was up by one-fifth to $48.5 million on sales up 29% to $130.6 million thanks to US armed forces demand. But the California-based company, which gets 86% of its revenue from UAVs including Raven and Wasp but also develops advanced battery power systems, saw total operating income for the nine-month period drop 16% to $19.3 million because of higher expenses in sales- general-administration and in research and development.

Collins bolsters UAV capabilities

Acquisition Rockwell Collins is to acquire, for an undisclosed sum, Virginia, USA-based Athena Technologies, maker of the GuideStar family of flight-control systems for applications on commercial aircraft, UAVs, target drones and missiles. Collins chief executive Clay Jones describes the deal as providing "exciting new growth opportunities" in military and commercial markets.

SKF Acquires US metallic rods maker

MANUFACTURING Swedish bearings group SKF has acquired QPM Aerospace's metallic rod business in Monroe, Washington, near Seattle, along with its 12 employees. QPM is a supplier to Boeing and is qualified to supply Airbus. SKF's existing metallic rod activities are located in Saint Vallier, south of Lyon, France. Customers include Airbus, Dassault and Eurocopter.

Acquisitions pay off for Senior engineering

RESULTS Acquisitions and the civil airliner boom helped UK high-technology components engineering group Senior nearly double its aerospace division's 2007 pre-tax operating profit to £33.4 million ($66.6 million) on sales up 33% to £246.2 million. In North America, Senior bought AMT and Sterling Machine in 2006, Absolute Manufacturing in December 2007 and Capo Industries in January 2008.

GAMA deal leaves PrivatAir in Europe

BUSINESS AVIATION Farnborough, UK-based business aviation services company Gama has upped its managed fleet to more than 60 aircraft by acquiring, for an undisclosed sum, PrivatAir's US arm, which will be rebranded as Gama Aviation and remain based in Stratford, Connecticut. Gama is already active in the USA from Teterboro, New Jersey. PrivatAir will focus on its European business.

Hal, Incat join forces for India venture

AEROSTRUCTURES India's Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) and engineering and product development IT specialist Incat, a US-, India- and Germany-based subsidiary of Tata Technology, are forming a Bangalore-based 50-50 joint venture to provide aerostructure engineering and design services. The venture will help both partners and aerospace OEMs meet Indian market offset requirements.

Alenia to create Turin aerospace district

INDUSTRY Finmeccanica's Alenia Aeronautica group will, by 2010, concentrate all its design, production, assembly, engineering and flight test activities at Turin Caselle airport. Only Thales Alenia Space will remain at its Corso Marche plant, to anchor an aerospace district for small to medium-sized enterprises. The "dual-use urban area" will also host a university centre, residences and service buildings.

Source: Flight International