UMS SKELDAR consolidates position as UAV technology innovator with acquisition of the assets of aviation pioneer Hirth, including its  license agreement with Australia’s Orbital Corporation; announces commitment to Australian market and naval unmanned projects at ROTORTECH 2018.

09:00 AEST, May 22nd 2018 – SUNSHINE COAST, Queensland, Australia:

UMS SKELDAR, the world-class provider of rotary Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) solutions and avionics software, has confirmed its focus on Australia, assisted by a number of in-country initiatives to support its tender for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) contract, to be announced at ROTORTECH 2018 (24-26 May 2018), which is taking place at the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia.

The acquisition of the assets of Hirth Engines GmbH (“Hirth Engines”), the German-based specialist and global engine manufacturer for air, water and land applications announced earlier this month (May 2018), introduces an opportunity for UMS SKELDAR – the joint venture company between Saab and UMS AERO – to work with Orbital Corporation Limited – Perth, Australia – an international developer of UAV engines and related technologies. Hirth have previously engaged Orbital on several development projects including, under license, Hirth’s air-assisted direct injection system, integrated specifically into the flagship SKELDAR V-200 – the pioneer engine in its class to operate on heavy fuels such as JP5/JP8.

The RAN contract – in parallel with NATO and other navies – stipulates heavy fuel for deployment from maritime platforms. The SKELDAR V-200 was the first rotary wing VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) UAV in its class to meet NATO’s one-fuel policy to eliminate gasoline for safety and logistics reasons.

As a market leader in innovative 2-stroke engine products and technologies, the Hirth business includes research, development and manufacturing from its site at Benningen, near Stuttgart, Germany with global sales co-ordinated from Vienna, Austria.

The Hirth Engines acquisition, and it’s license with Orbital Corporation, joins Australian partnerships for UMS SKELDAR including Adelaide-headquartered Saab Australia and Melbourne-based Sentient Vision Systems, developer of the only proven maritime search system ViDAR (Visual Detection and Ranging System).

Hirth has manufactured and sold more than one million engines since it was established and has been a pioneer of the 2-stroke engine for 60 years, with a track record of 30 years in the UAV sector. Additionally, Hirth has earned a reputation for innovation across a range of UAV engine classes and specifications, including development of advanced technology to create consumer off the shelf (COTS) propulsion systems to meet the demanding requirements of the UAV market.


According to David Willems, UMS SKELDAR’s Head of Business Development:

“We are excited to add Hirth’s production, research and innovation talent to our team. This acquisition provides us with the opportunity to gain world-class experience in the highly competitive aerospace sector focused on the UAV market and importantly develop our presence in Australia. With the strategic partnerships and ongoing positive developments with NATO navies, we are confident that our maritime rotary wing VTOL solution is superior to any competitors.”


The importance of the Pacific region to UMS SKELDAR was underlined by Axel Cavalli-Bjorkman, CEO of UMS SKELDAR.

“Recent moves including the Hirth acquisition are a logical extension of our strategy to further develop our leading position as a pioneer of the heavy fuel engine at the heart of our rotary wing UAV VTOL platforms.
The strategic focus on maritime domains and world navies in particular demonstrates our focus and determination to be first choice provider in military and civilian maritime markets.”

ROTORTECH is hosted by the Australian Helicopter Industry Association Limited between 24-26th May, and aims to bring together leading players from all sectors of the rotary-wing industry – operators, helicopter and equipment manufacturers, suppliers, service providers, pilots and engineers. For more information about the event, go to https://www.rotortech.com.au/.

For more information on UMS SKELDAR, including its world leading platforms, click on https://umsskeldar.aero/.