Saab has formed a joint venture with UMS Aero Group that will take responsibility of marketing the former's Skeldar V-200 unmanned helicopter.
UMS Skeldar will “strengthen Saab’s offerings in the tactical UAV market”, and the Skeldar division of Saab and all its assets – including the air vehicles, ground control stations, and training systems – will move to the JV.
The JV – of which Saab will hold 47% – will also market UMS’s range of UAVs, of which there are two fixed wing – the F-330 and F-720 – and one rotary wing, the R-350.
“Through UMS Skeldar, we are securing access to a portfolio that complements Saab's other investments in autonomous systems in an excellent way,” says Ulf Nilsson, head of Saab’s aeronautics business area. “Through the joint venture we are able to offer the market a combination of the smaller company's flexibility and Saab's extensive experience within the field of aviation.”
Jakob Baumann, chief executive of UMS Skeldar, adds: "Our combined portfolios make it possible to meet customer requirements within several segments, whether it be defence, ‘blue light forces’ or civilian customers."
UMS is Swiss and the JV will be located in Möhlin, Switzerland with an office in Sweden.
Saab was contracted in 2013 to provide the Spanish navy with Skeldar integrated with the Cloud Cap Technology TASE 400 electro-optical, infrared sensor. This is the only known customer for the rotorcraft, which has seen competition from the Schiebel Camcopter S-100 and the CybAero Apid One unmanned helicopters.
Saab is also involved in the pan-European Neuron unmanned combat air vehicle demonstrator effort, and in August the test vehicle was transported to Vidsel air base to carry out low-observability-trials weapon delivery testing.