Swiss Drone Firm Inks Sky-high Aircraft Leasing Deal

A major Swiss drone company has inked a deal that will create one of the world’s largest global leasing service for UAS.

UMS Skeldar announced the partnership last week with JetLease, an American multi-national group listed as one of the world’s largest aircraft leasing companies. Unveiled at the European defense/security expo DSEI 2017 in London, the agreement will leverage JetLease’s market presence to lease Skeldar’s VTOL inventory. The company currently offers both rotor UAVs – the V200 and R350– as well as fixed-wing aircraft – the F720 and F330.

Skeldar is a joint venture between Swedish automaker Saab and UMS Aero. “It made absolute sense for JetLease to provide these products to UMS Skeldar,” JetLease President Russ Dise said in a press release. “They also boast a track record as industry gamechangers with their unique heavy fuel engine rotary VTOL — the only one to operate in its category — and we are looking forward to developing our leasing product.”

The agreement will offer “wet and dry leasing” for expeditions over land or sea and will include options for sensor payloads such as Sentient Vision Systems’ ViDAR which boasts 5-10 cameras and an optimal 360-degree maritime domain awareness package.

“This NATO-compliant platform, demonstrably the best suited across a range of customer sectors, is our strategic focus,” Skeldar CEO Axel Cavalli-Björkman said.

“Importantly, this exciting new partnership with JetLease makes our SKELDAR V-200 accessible to a range of customers in the ‘blue light’ sector – police, security and emergency services, Search and Rescue (SAR) – and ‘emerging nations’ military markets. Outsourced contracts and third-party financing including ‘Power by the Hour’ are attractive options placing our technologies within reach of an increasing number of prospective customers.”

Earlier this year, Skeldar signed a deal with Sentient Vision Systems announced an agreement to provide the ViDAR (Visual Identification Detection and Ranging) system for USM Skeldar’s unmanned systems during the Paris Airshow.

ViDAR is described by Skeldar as “a wide area autonomous detection system for electro-optic imagery in the maritime domain, enabling coverage over 80 times the ocean’s surface compared with existing electro-optic sensors.”

“ViDAR transforms the utility of tactical UAS’s by giving them a ‘find’ function for the first time. Operators typically must rely on larger, more expensive aircraft to detect objects in the ocean.”