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Friday, November 14, 2014

No Swedish UAVs to China

The Swedish Agency for Non-Proliferation and Export Controls (ISP) has rejected an application from Swedish CybAero, which develops and sells autonomous unmanned helicopters (VTOL UAVs), for a license to export to Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC). CybAero is now in discussions with ISP and planning to submit a new application.

CybAero announced in July 2014 an order placed by AVIC guarantee worth SEK 700-800 million through an eight-year framework agreement. The major focus of AVIC is to efficiently develop indigenous military technologies and to eventually compete with Boeing and Airbus in the civilian airline industry. AVIC has over 400,000 employees.

CybAero signed a framework agreement with AVIC for delivery of at least 70 helicopter systems in total, with at least 20 in the first three years and at least 50 the following five years. CybAero applied for an export license from ISP on September 8th and supplemented its application on September 30th with a request for a license to deliver only the first 20 systems in the next two years.

CybAero was founded in 2003, but the foundation of its business were laid in 1992 through research collaboration between Linköping University and the Swedish Defense Research Agency (FOI). CybAero is now established as a global VTOL UAV leader. The Company's APID product attracts much attention globally for being user-friendly, robust and price-efficient. The company has over 40 employees and has been listed on the NASDAQ OMX First North since 2007.

Chinese Aviation interested in Swedish Defence Research 
Last month the Swedish television program Uppdrag Granskning revealed that the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI) has had commercial research cooperation talks on parts of a unique Swedish research program, Edge, which may be used for military purposes, with Chinese Aeronautical Establishment (CAE), affiliated with AVIC, using the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) as a front. Since Sweden officially supports the EU weapons embargo against China and Sweden's official stance is not to have any military cooperation with the dictatorship, it is strictly forbidden for FOI to deal with China directly, and that is why KTH has been used as a middle man.
KTH officials claim that the research program contains generic knowledge only, but has not sought permission from Swedish authority ISP for its activities. The Director General of the FOI, Jan-Olov Linde, denies allegations of using KTH as a front, and blames his researchers for the set-up between the Swedish research institute and its Chinese counterpart.

Edge is a CFD flow solver for unstructured grids of arbitrary elements. Edge is available as a complete source package, subject to the FOI license agreement. A limited feature copy of Edge can be downloaded here.

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