Boeing Buying Drone Maker Aurora Flight Services

By Doug Cameron Features Dow Jones Newswires

Boeing Co. on Thursday said it plans to acquire Aurora Flight Sciences Corp., a maker of aerial drones and pilotless flying systems that also expands the company's reach in the new field of electric-powered aircraft.

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Virginia-based Aurora is a specialist in autonomous systems that allow military and commercial aircraft to be flown remotely, including technology that automates many functions.

The proposed deal marks Boeing's second acquisition in less than a year involving autonomous systems following last December's purchase of Liquid Robotics Inc., a maker of ships and undersea vehicles, and adds to a portfolio that includes aerial drone maker Insitu.

Boeing's venture capital arm also this year invested in Zunum Aero, a Washington state-based startup that on Thursday unveiled its plan for an electric-hybrid regional passenger jet.

Terms for the proposed purchase of Aurora weren't disclosed. The firm has more than 550 staff and will be run as an independent unit in Boeing's engineering and technology business.

Aurora also produces composite parts for aircraft and other vehicles. Boeing is looking to produce more of its own parts as part of an insourcing strategy to reduce costs and potential disruption in its supply chain.

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Boeing has been considering further acquisitions as part of the push to expand sales at its newly formed services arm to $50 billion over the next several years from around $14 billion at present.

Write to Doug Cameron at doug.cameron@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 05, 2017 09:14 ET (13:14 GMT)