Lockheed Martin Acquires Stealth UAS Pioneer Chandler/May

The Fury 1500 UAV. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update
The Fury 1500 UAV. Photo: Chandler/May

Lockheed Martin today announced the acquisition of Chandler/May, Inc., a developer and producer of specialized unmanned aerial vehicle systems. The company also developed and produced fully integrated mission critical systems for unmanned aerial systems (UAS). As a subcontractor to AAI, Chandler/May has delivered hundreds of integrated command and control shelters and portable ground control stations in support of U.S. Army UAS programs. They also produced over 2,200 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), including the Desert Hawk UAV, a program for which Chandler/May, Inc. is a supplier to Lockheed Martin. Another system developed by Chandler/May is the ‘stealthy looking’ Fury flying wing UAV, the SharkFin Mission & Flight Control System and Tactical Air Vehicle Control System (TACS) ground control station.


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[/nonmember][ismember]The Fury is a fully developed system, available in several weight categories that has never been officially endorsed by the US military services, except for a single selection for the ‘Sand Dragon’ counter-IED program where the platform’s role was later terminated. Nevertheless, Chandler/May continued to develop the family and support the systems through vertical integration of mission control, indigenous C4ISR and ground support elements assumably, supporting other operators. These additional capabilities are likely to have added to its appeal for Lockheed Martin, seeking to expand its unmanned systems portfolio beyond the families of the Skunk Works developed products.

The new plannar array SATCOM antenna used on the Fury 1500 enables the integration of a small form-factor SATCOM terminal that can deliver full-rate motion video from such small platforms. Photo" Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update
The new plannar array SATCOM antenna used on the Fury 1500 enables the integration of a small form-factor SATCOM terminal that can deliver full-rate motion video from such small platforms. Photo” Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update

The company’s subsidiary AME has developed the Fury 1500 as a tactical UAV with exceptional performance. With maximum gross takeoff weight of 300 lbs, it can carry a useful payload of 190lb including fuel. It also generates 1.5 KW of power to several payloads simultaneously while maintaining over 16hrs of endurance and mission range beyond 1500 nm with dash speeds of 120 knots. To support operations at long range, AME has fielded a unique satellite communications terminal claimed to be the first tactical class UAS to deliver live full-motion video SATCOM link over a high bandwidth commercial SATCOM link. “With BLOS, the Fury is able to support missions at distances previously impossible using tactically deployed unmanned systems” John Purvis, President and CEO of AME UAS said in September 2012. For this application  the company employed the new compact SATCOM terminal. [/ismember] Lockheed Martin has two main operating divisions focusing on UAS – the Skunk Works, focused on black programs and rapid prototyping and Mission Systems & Sensors (MS2). Officially, Chandler/May will become will become part of MS2 business, ‘a division that has already acquired experience with other unmanned systems, including the K-MAX unmanned helicopter, Desert Hawk UAV, and Persistent Threat Detection System (PTDS) aerostats’, the corporate announcement said. MS2 is also managing the activities of Procerus, UAS avionics specialist acquired in January 2012.

The Fury 1500 UAV. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense-Update

“This acquisition expands our offerings in support of our customers’ increased emphasis on advanced unmanned systems for the C4ISR missions,” said Bob Stevens, Lockheed Martin Chairman and CEO. “This acquisition is consistent with our goal to maintain a portfolio of technologically advanced options that will generate value for both our customers and our shareholders.”

Chandler/May, Inc. is a privately owned company currently operating from Huntsville, Ala, and San Luis Obispo, Calif. “Joining Lockheed Martin is a logical step to expand our current offerings and provides opportunities to reach additional customers.” Jesse May, Chandler/May, Inc. President said. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed and are not material to Lockheed Martin’s results of operations.