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Source: AeroVironment Inc.

HAPSMobile Inc., a SoftBank Corp. (TOKYO: 9434) subsidiary launched in 2017 with the mission of bridging the digital divide, marked two major milestones on September 21, 2020. First, the solar-powered, unmanned aircraft “Sunglider” took flight in the stratosphere for the first time. Second, Sunglider also successfully delivered an LTE connection from the stratosphere during the flight, marking a world first for a fixed-wing High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) autonomous aircraft.

With a communications payload under its wing, Sunglider functions like a base station floating in the sky. Circling the stratosphere above the earth, it transmits radio waves down to mobile phones on the ground. This means it can reach areas where it is difficult to build infrastructure, including remote areas and developing countries. Since it flies in the stratosphere and is therefore unaffected by weather on the ground, Sunglider can also deliver connectivity when disasters strike.

While the concept may seem far out--in fact, HAPSMobile President & CEO Junichi Miyakawa was originally inspired by the Japanese fantasy anime classic “Castle in the Sky” before launching the business--HAPSMobile’s landmark flight and communication tests have shown that it is making great progress on its mission to connect the unconnected, which now accounts for roughly half of the world’s population.

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Source: AeroVironment Inc.

CARLSBAD, Calif. and SIMI VALLEY, Calif., Oct. 15, 2020 -- Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), a global communications company, and AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), today announced they will collaborate on a contract awarded under the U.S. Army Reconfigurable Communications for Small Unmanned Systems (RCSUS) initiative. The project will provide U.S. military customers flying small UAS platforms the ability to deploy a robust, on-demand, highly-secure communications network that will address the growing electronic warfare capabilities of peer and near-peer adversaries.

Viasat is the prime contractor on the award and will work with AeroVironment to develop and demonstrate advanced, encrypted communications suitable for AeroVironment’s portable, hand-launched Puma AE™ tactical UAS. The two companies will seek to strengthen the communications and transmission security of AeroVironment’s Digital Data Link™ (DDL) radios currently used by the U.S. Army by converting them into a Type 1 crypto communication system for video and data transmission. 

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Family of Loitering Missile Systems Virtual Press Briefing

October 13, 2020

Join us for an in depth discussion about the capabilities of AeroVironment's Family of Loitering Missile Systems featuring Switchblade® 600 as the newest product in the portfolio. Switchblade 600 builds on the Switchblade 300 tactical missile system’s battle-proven loitering missile performance with longer endurance, range, a new touch screen control and enhanced lethal effects for mission success across multiple domains.


Source: AeroVironment Inc.
  • Puma 3 All Environment (AE) unmanned aircraft system delivers immediate tactical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) in maritime and land operations
  • Customer is among the 50 allied government forces relying on AeroVironment’s innovative family of tactical unmanned aircraft systems (UAS); Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program promotes interoperability among U.S. and allied forces for joint operations
  • Long-Range Tracking Antenna (LRTA) enables 60 kilometer range, and is now available in both M1/2/5 and M3/4/6 Digital Data Link (DDL) military operating bands

SIMI VALLEY, Calif., Oct. 13, 2020 – AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), today announced it secured a $8,371,332 firm-fixed-price U.S. Department of Defense FMS contract award on September 25, 2020 for Puma™ 3 AE tactical UAS, training and support to an allied nation. Delivery is anticipated by March 2021.

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Source: AeroVironment Inc.
  • Sunglider reaches stratospheric altitude in 20-hour test flight
  • Successfully demonstrates broadband mobile communication on consumer smartphones, linking teams in Tokyo, New Mexico and Silicon Valley

SIMI VALLEY, Calif., Oct. 7, 2020 – AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), today announcedthe Sunglider™ solar-powered high-altitude pseudo-satellite (HAPS) achieved key test milestones, including reaching an altitude of more than 60,000 feet above sea level and successfully demonstrating mobile broadband communication. Sunglider’s development and testing is funded by HAPSMobile Inc., a joint venture majority-owned by SoftBank Corp. (TOKYO: 9434) and minority-owned by AeroVironment.

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Source: AeroVironment Inc.
  • Switchblade 600 builds on battle-proven Switchblade 300, with patented “wave-off” feature and ability to recommit, with increased range, extended endurance and multi-purpose anti-armor munition for use against larger, hardened targets
  • Lightweight, self-contained Switchblade 600 launch tube system allows for deployment flexibility from fixed and mobile platforms on land, in air or at sea
  • Switchblade 600 with advanced EO/IR gimbaled sensor suite, precision flight control and more than 40 minutes of endurance delivers immediate reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition
  • New tablet-based Fire Control System allows operators to easily train, plan missions and execute flight operations

SIMI VALLEY, Calif., Oct. 1, 2020 – AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), today announced the introduction of its family of loitering missile systems, featuring the new Switchblade 600. Switchblade 600 builds on the battle-proven track record of Switchblade 300 to define a new category of extended range loitering missiles. The U.S. Army recently awarded AeroVironment a $76 million contract award for Switchblade 300 system procurement and support as part of the Lethal Miniature Aerial Missile System (LMAMS) program. Based on the same tube-launched, collapsible wing, electric propulsion architecture as Switchblade 300, the new, larger Switchblade 600 offers expanded capabilities for engaging larger, hardened targets at greater distances.

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Source: AeroVironment Inc.

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. and CHICAGO, Sept. 29, 2020 – AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV), a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), today announced a teaming agreement with Robotic Skies, a global maintenance, repair, and overhaul network for UAS, to provide field maintenance, inspection and repair support for AeroVironment customers.

Robotic Skies, through teaming agreements with companies such as AeroVironment, provides UAS fleet operators with local, aviation-grade maintenance services. The company offers a unique combination of expertise in unmanned aircraft systems and traditional aviation maintenance methodology to deliver high-quality, scalable services through its repair network.

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AeroVironment’s Scott Newbern delivered the Keynote Address “AeroVironment – A Fifty Year Old Startup,” discussing the company’s culture of innovation, factors that have driven our success and provided guidance to robotics technology startups working on DoD innovation initiatives.


In connection with Defense One’s – The Next Big Thing(s) in Unmanned Systems –Juliet Van Wagenen, Editor, Branded Content of GEMG, sits down with AeroVironment’s Gorik Hossepian, vice president of product line management for UAS. As today’s warfighters look to adapt to a quickly changing battlespace, Gorik speaks about how small unmanned aircraft are evolving to address these needs.



"For AeroVironment, success came as a result of four core elements: innovation, simplicity/elegance of design, reliability, and customer collaboration," said Scott Newbern, AeroVironment's chief technology officer. Newbern, who has been with the company since 1997, identified these core elements as the foundation that launched AeroVironment into the global, small, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) business. 

According to Newbern, the innovative spirit has been a distinct characteristic among AeroVironment employees since the company's inception. "Back in the early days, many employees were aviation enthusiasts in one way or another," he stated, "and some were world champions competing in aircraft modeling events around the world. 

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