Ann Arbor Firm to Develop Battery Chargers for Growing Drone Market

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Ann Arbor-based Arotech Corp. — a provider of defense and security products for the military, law enforcement, and homeland security markets — has received more than $700,000 in orders to manufacture battery chargers used in drones, company officials announced Monday.

The battery chargers will allow for operation in harsh environments and support advanced battery management capabilities including battery testing and refreshing.

“These activities strengthen our market position in powering advanced technologies such as UAVs,” says Robert S. Ehrlich, Arotech’s chairman and CEO. “The chargers will be used for batteries in all types of unmanned aircraft vehicles (drones) including small tactical systems as well as larger strategic platforms.”

The company expects to see increased traction from the sector over the coming years, Ehrlich says. “We see a significant and growing market for unmanned military systems including aircraft, submersibles, as well as land vehicles. We are actively engaged in this sector with development ongoing,” he says.

Last week, Arotech reported that its revenue for the third quarter reached $23.2 million, an increase of 8.2 percent over 2012.

By 2015, the Department of Defense and NASA are expected to issue rules to open the nation’s airspace to unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs. In turn, a $63.4-billion FAA Reauthorization Bill signed into law by President Obama in March 2012 requires that all commercial, cargo, and general aviation aircraft be equipped with GPS-based satellite navigation systems by 2020.

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