Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and tactical missile systems manufacturer AeroVironment has acquired US-based small vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) drones supplier Pulse Aerospace.

The deal is valued at $25.7m in cash, including milestone-based earn-out payments of $5m.

Pulse’s HeliSynth technology provides flight control, payload, and endurance capabilities for both defence and commercial end markets.

AeroVironment believes that the transaction will help expand its unmanned systems portfolio by increasing mission capabilities with enhanced payload capacity.

For Pulse, the transaction will help expand the reach of its VTOL UAS technology. Pulse’s VTOL product family is seen as a complementary addition to AeroVironment’s fixed-wing small UAS product range.

AeroVironment president and CEO Wahid Nawabi said: “The talented Pulse Aerospace team has created a solution set that is unique and will expand our family of unmanned systems by addressing increasing demand from our customers for small VTOL solutions.

“This transaction brings together two highly complementary companies in terms of products, markets and culture, and will better position AeroVironment to grow our share of the small UAS market.

“The team at Pulse Aerospace shares our focus on disruptive innovation and we welcome them to AeroVironment. Together, we will deliver even more capability to our customers in the US and more than 45 allied countries around the world.”

“The Pulse Aerospace team has created a solution set that is unique and will expand our family of unmanned systems.”

AeroVironment and Pulse will look to use technologies such as robotics, sensors, software analytics and connectivity, Nawabi added.

Pulse was recently awarded a contract worth more than $13m to provide its Vapor unmanned VTOL systems to an undisclosed defence customer. The contract includes spares and services.

The company’s VTOL range includes Vapor 15, Vapor 35 and Vapor 55.

The acquisition is expected to be accretive to AeroVironment’s earnings by the third full year of operations.