French company Delair-Tech purchased the Gatewing engineering and manufacturing business of Trimble, based in Ghent, Belgium—a significant acquisition in the commercial drone industry the parties announced on October 10. They did not disclose the purchase price.
Gatewing produces the UX5, UX5 HP and ZX5 small unmanned aircraft used for aerial data collection and photogrammetry applications. Delair-Tech, with headquarters in Toulouse, France, provides UAV packages based on the DT18 and DT26 small fixed-wing drones, and including data processing and analytics, for industrial inspection and asset management purposes. In October 2012, the DT18 became the first small unmanned aircraft certified by France’s DGAC civil aviation authority for beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations.
At the time of the Gatewing acquisition, Delair-Tech and German manufacturer microdrones signed strategic agreements to supply fixed-wing and multi-rotor drones, respectively, for Trimble’s world distribution network.
Trimble acquired privately-held Gatewing in April 2012 and developed the 5.5-pound UX5 flying wing from Gatewing’s X100 platform. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company, which changed its name from Trimble Navigation earlier this month, will now focus on software for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) instead of platforms. Its distribution network sells image-processing software to the construction, agriculture, transport and energy industries.