Bell Helicopter parent Textron Inc. has agreed to acquire the unmanned aerial vehicle maker United Industrial Corp. for about $1.1 billion in cash by the end of the year.
United Industrial’s wholly owned subsidiary, AAI Corp. is a leading provider of "intelligent aerospace and defense systems," including UAVs. Headquartered in Hunt Valley, Md., AAI builds the U.S. Army’s Shadow tactical UAV, which is deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. It last year purchased Aerosonde, an Australian designer and manufacturer of advanced unmanned aircraft systems. AAI will become part of Textron’s Bell segment, with most of it operating within Textron Systems Corp.
"We have experience in surveillance and reconnaissance with groundbreaking unmanned aircraft systems, such as Bell’s Eagle Eye — the first-ever unmanned tilt-rotor aircraft," Bell President and CEO Richard Millman. "Our ability to address these growth opportunities will be strengthened by AAI’s capabilities."