Aeronautics wins $27m Thailand UAV deal

Aeronautics wins $27m Thailand UAV deal

Yavne-based Aeronautics Ltd. will supply Dominator unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to the Thai Ministry of Defense, the company reported to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE). The volume of the deal, which includes UAVs, land equipment, and accompanying services, is $27 million over three years. Payment will be according to the milestones set in the agreement, Globes reports.

The Dominator, developed by Aeronautics on the basis of a manned aircraft converted by the company into a UAV, can carry up to 1,900 kilograms in special payloads (such as a camera, radar, or bomb), simultaneously and can stay airborne for 20 hours.

Aeronautics said that the Thai Ministry of Defense was one of its veteran customers and that the Thai army had been using the company's UAVs for the past decade.

Aeronautics develops and manufactures UAVs, observation balloons, bomb fuses, and advanced navigational systems. The company is controlled by the KCPS, Viola, and Bereshit funds. Its CEO is Amos Mathan and its chairperson is former Israeli navy commander and former Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. CEO Vice Admiral (res.) Yedidia Yaari, who recently replaced former Israel air force commander Maj. Gen. Eitan Ben Eliyahu.

Aeronautics' share price responded to the news by rising, but has lost nearly 60% of its value since the company went public in June 2017, following weak results and an affair that culminated in the Ministry of Defense suspending Aeronautics' license to market the K1 Orbiter UAV to an important customer in a foreign country (a gag order is still in effect in the affair after a criminal investigation was opened last November).

The company reported a 5% decrease in revenue in the first quarter, compared with the first quarter in 2017, and posted a $1.2 million operating loss, compared with an $858,000 operating loss in the corresponding quarter last year, due to higher research and development expenses, among other factors. Aeronautics' first quarter net loss was $1.8 million, compared with a $180,000 net profit in the first quarter of 2017.

Aeronautics became a public company in the summer of 2017 when the funds controlling the company conducted a massive offer of sale amounting to over NIS 400 million. The company issued new shares for NIS 53 million at the same time to Leumi Partners. Trading on the TASE in Aeronautics' share began at a NIS 1 billion market cap, which has since shrunk to NIS 405 million.

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