March 14, 2016 | by Stephanie Rogan
Enlightenment Capital, an aerospace, defense, and government-focused investment firm, made a strategic investment in Aurora Flight Sciences, a developer of unmanned aircraft systems based in Manassas, Virginia. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Manassas, Virginia, and Chevy Chase, Maryland – March 14, 2016 – Enlightenment Capital, an aerospace, defense, and government-focused investment firm, announced that it has made a strategic investment in Aurora Flight Sciences, a world leader in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and autonomous flight technologies for military and commercial customers. The investment will support Aurora’s strategy for expanding the company’s development and manufacturing scale as demand continues to increase. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“Over the twenty-five years since Aurora was founded, we’ve demonstrated a commitment to innovation in unmanned aircraft systems, advanced aeronautic design and, more recently, robotic systems that are defining the future of autonomous flight,” said John S. Langford, chairman, CEO and founder of Aurora. “This investment by Enlightenment Capital supports our efforts to grow in line with our customers’ requirements. The proven aerospace and defense sector expertise at Enlightenment Capital will ensure our strategy and investments remain aligned to expanding military and commercial market opportunities.”
“Aurora has an outstanding track record in support of the most demanding UAS applications and aerospace customers,” said Devin Talbott, Managing Partner of Enlightenment Capital. “We are excited to partner with Aurora’s leadership as they continue to provide leading-edge capabilities in both unmanned and manned aerospace systems.”
“Aurora has been a leader in their field, providing some of the most advanced UAS for over twenty-five years. They are an innovator in a surging UAS market, and we look forward to supporting their continued growth and innovation,” added Pierre Chao, Managing Partner of Enlightenment Capital.
A number of new contracts and milestones have demonstrated Aurora’s technology leadership. On March 3, 2016, DARPA awarded Aurora an $89 million contract to build a demonstrator aircraft for the agency’s cutting edge vertical take-off/land experimental plane (VTOL x-plane). Also on March 3, 2016, the company’s Orion UAS was awarded the prestigious Aviation Week Laureate Award, as the top aerospace innovation of the year. Under contract with both the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Aurora is developing an ultra-efficient future commercial aircraft design, known as D8. And, in December, 2014 the Orion medium-altitude, long-endurance UAS developed for the U.S. Air Force shattered the world flight endurance record with an 80-hour flight.
Aurora Flight Sciences is a leader in the development and manufacturing of advanced aerospace vehicles. It is a leading innovator in the unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and composite aerostructures market. Aurora is headquartered in Manassas, VA and operates production plants in Bridgeport, WV and Columbus, MS; and a Research and Development Center in Cambridge, MA. For more information, visit www.aurora.aero.
Enlightenment Capital, a Washington, DC-area based private investment firm, provides senior debt, mezzanine debt, and minority equity to middle market companies in the Aerospace, Defense & Government (ADG) sector. The firm partners with management teams, equity sponsors, and those businesses that provide vital services, protect critical infrastructure, innovate cyber and data solutions, engineer aerospace systems, safeguard national security, and endeavor to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. For more information, visit www.enlightencap.com.