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BlueBird Aero Systems, 50%-owned by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has completed delivery of 100 WanderB VTOL UAS to a European customer, the company announced on 15 January.

Part of a transaction involving over 150 WanderB and ThunderB UAS, the delivery marked the largest number of VTOL UAS delivered to any customer at one time, and was completed on time, despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.

The transaction reflects a globally emerging trend towards VTOL UAVs, which provide important benefits for land and maritime applications, combining the advantages of a fixed wing UAV (long range, long endurance, high speed, wind independence, large area coverage, etc.) with those of a multi-copter (ability to take off and land in confined areas, accuracy, safe and damage-free landing, etc.). IAI’s 50% ownership of BlueBird Aero Systems, recently approved by the Israeli government, is tapping into the potential stemming from this emerging trend. In recent years, BlueBird developed several advanced VTOL platforms. The asset and capability combination of IAI and BlueBird is expected to yield additional breakthrough operational solutions.

IAI EVP and General Manager of the Military Aircraft Division, and incoming Chairman at BlueBird, Moshe Levy, commented “BlueBird is delivering a product providing a unique solution to the customer’s operational challenges. I am confident BlueBird, with IAI's collaboration, will yield future transactions and lead to the development of more sophisticated tactical VTOL UAV systems.”

BlueBird CEO, Ronen Nadir, added “BlueBird’s VTOL systems provide vital intelligence and situational awareness in real time to the end-user's infantry, armoured units, artillery corps and special forces, serving as their ‘eye in the sky,’ effectively handling the challenges of the modern battlefield […] The systems have been tested in extreme environmental conditions and comply with the end-user's operational needs, providing them with significate operational advantages [...] Once again, our leadership in cutting-edge VTOL solutions is setting the stage for next-generation tactical UAVs.”

Delivery of over 100 WanderBs to the unspecified customer is the largest single one-time delivery of VTOL UAS in history. (Photo: IAI/BlueBird)

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