FrontLine has learned that Israeli company Bluebird Aero has been actively engaged in the Canadian unmanned aerial systems and vehicles (UAS‌) market for the past 18 months, and the Canadian Armed Forces is evaluating some of its vertical take off and landing (VTOL) UAVs.

WanderB UAS
The WanderB VTOL is an electric, mini UAS optimized to facilitate covert “beyond visual line of sight” operations or extensive, day-and-night intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions in real time.

According to Itai Toren, VP business development, sales & marketing at BlueBird, its expertise in the design, development and manufacturing of operationally-proven, high endurance Micro, Mini and small Tactical UAV systems, including (VTOL) systems, has gained attention of several potential Canadian clients. He confirmed the company is currently pursuing several very "promising" Canadian opportunities. "Given the significant level of interest in our exceptional UAV systems, BlueBird plans to continue investing in the development of its Canadian market presence."

In September, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) signed an agreement to acquire 50% of the equity of BlueBird Aero Systems. Bluebird, a UAV developer and integrator in the small tactical arena, has been providing its solutions to Israeli forces and worldwide customers for close to two decades.

In recent years, both IAI and BlueBird have focused on vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capabilities, a category that provides significant benefits to ground and naval forces. BlueBird has developed several advanced VTOL platforms, including the WanderB-VTOL and ThunderB-VTOL. The company has recently sold more than 70 of the mentioned systems to an undisclosed customer. Together with Bluebird, IAI plans to bring innovative and groundbreaking VTOL technologies to market.

This acquisition is part of the implementation of IAI’s strategy in the UAV sector and IAI foresees significant potential in the small tactical UAS market for military, security, and commercial applications. The acquisition will enable IAI to grow its operations and revenues, accelerate technological developments while lowering costs, reduce time to market process, and improve competitiveness.

– Arie Egozi is a defence writer /editor based in Israel.