Aeronautics’ Subsidiary Forms UAS Division Focused On U.S. Market

Orbiter 3
Credit: CP Aeronautics

CP Technologies, a subsidiary of Israel’s Aeronautics, has established a business unit to pursue U.S. defense and civil markets for the parent company’s range of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

San Diego-based CP Technologies, a longtime producer of ruggedized computing systems, was acquired by Aeronautics in June 2018. Subsequently, in September 2019, a 50% stake in Aeronautics itself was acquired by Israel’s state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. 

The CP Aeronautics business unit has been established to produce the Israeli company’s UAS for the U.S. market, and for overseas customers that prefer to buy equipment from the U.S., says Brad Pilsl, vice president of business development at the new division.

Parent Aeronautics is a private company, and not Israeli government owned, Pilsl says, and the new division is “firewalled off” so it can take on U.S. programs. CP Aeronautics is already actively working on proposals through partnerships with U.S. primes, he adds.

“We are moving pretty fast,” Pilsl says. CP Aerospace plans to sell or lease UAS, or provide services, to U.S. federal and state agencies, defense primes, public utilities and other customers, and to begin with assembly, flight testing and services before moving on to manufacture in the U.S. “in the near future.”

The goal is to be able to assemble aircraft in the U.S. by the fall and to supply aircraft off a U.S. production line by the end of this year or in early 2021, he says.

“Initially we intend to partner. We have had success with large primes and are actively looking at opportunities,” Plisl says. “Long term, we are looking at programs of record that we may prime or partner on. We are also looking at doing services in the U.S. and are working through the regulatory steps.”

The new division is offering the full range of Aeronautics’ aircraft, including the Orbiter 2 mini-UAS, Orbiter 3 and 4 small tactical UAS, Aerostar tactical UAS and Dominator XP, a medium-altitude, long-endurance UAS based on the Diamond DA42 twin-engine light aircraft.

Attention is focused on the Orbiter family, which has the capability to launch and recover on a ship and to perform missions such as point-to-point resupply, Plisl says, adding “There is some U.S. demand for some of our larger aircraft.”

There is also some interest in the Pegasus 120, a new Aeronautics vertical-takeoff-and-landing tactical UAS with a 110-lb. payload, in the market for last-mile resupply, Plisl says.

The new division is also targeting the market for expeditionary UAS ground control stations building on CP Technologies’ experience with ruggedized, compact computing based on modified commercial off-the-shelf technology. “That is why Aeronautics looked at us the first place,” he says.

Graham Warwick

Graham leads Aviation Week's coverage of technology, focusing on engineering and technology across the aerospace industry, with a special focus on identifying technologies of strategic importance to aviation, aerospace and defense.