Altavian Awarded $250 Million Army SUAS Contract
Gainesville, FL (January 11, 2013) - Altavian Inc. has been awarded a prestigious contract with the United States Army. The $250 million deal is a multi-award 3-year Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ), contract with several 1 year extension options.
The majority of the contract involves supplying short and long range small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS), more commonly referred to as “drones”. It also covers the supply of replacement parts for the Army’s current unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).
Altavian Inc. is an integrated unmanned aircraft solutions company specializing in manufacturing high quality UAS purpose built for scientific and engineering data collection. This event marks an important development for Altavian, offering a unique opportunity for the company to be involved in the military sector. This contract calls for a vehicle with real time battlefield video surveillance capability, a first for Altavian. Altavian’s main focus however, will continue to remain in commercial applications, including natural resource management, wildlife surveys and infrastructure monitoring.
Altavian’s flagship UAS, the Nova Block III, provides high precision geospatial data for a variety of applications. The data’s exceptionally detailed imagery allows one to focus on objects with clarity up to 10x better Google Earth™ data and provides GPS coordinates for the data.
In addition to the requirements set forth by the contract, the Nova’s specialized abilities will fulfill a capability gap in the Army’s currently fielded UAS platforms. Soldiers on the ground do not have ready access to battlefield maps, and those that are available are often weeks old. The Nova system is a stopgap for this by providing on-demand battlefield imagery the same day. Noncombat military rolls include monitoring overseas construction projects, forward scouting, and detecting landscape changes to determine movement in the area.
As a newly formed company, Altavian has its roots at the University of Florida. Founded by three University of Florida graduates, Thomas Reed, Thomas Rambo, and John Perry, Altavian developed from UF’s Unmanned Aerial Systems Research Lab.
The lab’s mission began in 1998 as an initiative to find alternate methods to collect data for environmental researchers because the use of traditional manned aircraft caused frequent fatalities for these researchers.
The founders joined the lab in 2008. Through a year of development, a prototype was designed and deployed. With continued successful operation and data collection stemmed the idea of a new business venture.
With the assistance of UF’s Innovation Institute, the founders enrolled in Entrepreneurship for Engineers and Engineering Innovation. These courses helped to direct their business plan and were integral in their entrepreneurial efforts. Altavian was incorporated in February 2011, in the middle of the Entrepreneurship class. Since then, Altavian has steadily grown into a thriving local business, doubling in size every six months.
Recently Altavian was selected to continue work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Jacksonville District in support of using unmanned aircraft in civil works projects in Florida and Puerto Rico.
With such achievements, the local start-up looks forward to future growth. Altavian recently relocated to a larger location in northeast Gainesville. Over the next year, it will be expanding its company and increasing job opportunities within the area.