Israel Aerospace Industries Expands Tactical UAV Activity, Acquires 50% of BlueBird Aero Systems

Nimrod Sheffer, IAI CEO & President and Ronen Nadir, CEO of BlueBird Aero Systems. (Credit: Alon Ron, IAI)

Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) signed an agreement to acquire 50% of the equity of BlueBird Aero Systems.

Bluebird, a leading UAS developer and integrator in the small tactical arena, has been providing its solutions to Israeli forces and worldwide customers for close to two decades. As part of the transaction, IAI is acquiring the holdings of Piramal Technologies SA from India, as well as additional shares from Fiberless Access and Ronen Nadir. Ronen Nadir will continue to hold 50% of BlueBird shares and continue to serve as the company’s CEO.

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.

WanderB UAS (Credit: BlueBird Aero Systems)

This acquisition is part of the implementation of IAI’s strategy in the UAS sector and a significant potential IAI foresees in the small tactical UAS market for military, HLS, 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.

CEO of BlueBird Aero Systems, Ronen Nadir, said, “Bluebird brings advanced technological capabilities in the small tactical UAS world and has been fortunate to supply its systems to numerous customers around the world. Along with IAI’s vast technological and innovative abilities and its infrastructure and world market access, we will continue to grow the company and extend its market share. I am delighted by IAI’s decision to become a part of Bluebird and wish to thank the Bluebird team for their support and dedication over the years.”

IAI EVP and General Manager of the Military Aircraft Group of IAI, Moshe Levy, said, “IAI’s UAV experience spans close to 50 years. During this time IAI has focused on customizing its developments to the needs arising from the field and the market. The acquisition of BlueBird is an implementation of this strategy, offering us an important leap forward in developing the next IAI UAV family. The combined companies will offer a broader portfolio of VTOL products with advanced technological benefits at competitive prices.”