Sabrewing Aircraft Company announced that it has raised 140% of its initial angel funding goal, according to Ed De Reyes, CEO of Sabrewing Aircraft Company. “We will close this round shortly, and cap this round at just under $1 million,” said De Reyes. De Reyes stated that they raised the funds from The Drone Fund, Integro LTD and two other investors. Due diligence ended at the end of December and funded at the first of the year.
Sabrewing Aircraft Company, Inc. is building a large-scale, long-endurance, high cargo capacity demonstrator UAV that is a 65% scale of their full-size drone. The demonstrator will also be used to compete in the Pacific Drone Challenge™, and as a demonstrator for both commercial and US Department of Defense sectors. According to De Reyes, testing is expected to begin in May of 2018 and will focus on system function, endurance and operations in preparation for a historic flight from Japan to Silicon Valley. The air vehicle, dubbed “The Draco-2” is a 65% scale demonstrator air vehicle designed to fly up to 5000 miles (9200 km) – for up to 50 hours – at altitudes reaching 22,000 feet (6700 meters).
According to Sabrewing, the full-scale version of their demonstrator aircraft will be able to fly for a similar distance but carry a greater payload than the demonstrator. Sabrewing’s full-scale UAV will be about the size of the Cessna-208 (Caravan) or Quest Kodiak, with similar acquisition costs and operational speed, but with almost double the payload of either aircraft. Sabrewing’s UAV is primarily meant to serve both military and civilian cargo operations, and is priced well below the Caravan’s or Kodiak’s operating and maintenance costs– yet provides with greater range and payload.
The Drone Fund was the lead investor in this round of funding. Once this round closes, Sabrewing will conclude the design phase of the Draco-2. The funding raised will be used to complete several ¼ scale wind tunnel models for testing of the final design, and to start building the Draco-2 air vehicle that will be tested within the Pan Pacific UAV Test Range Complex in Alaska, Oregon and Hawaii.
One of the key investors, Mr. Kazunori Saito CFO of the Japanese drone company iRobotics stated, “We are excited with the new technologies that Sabrewing is developing and bringing to the market. It is opening new possibilities that are amazing.”
“Work on a heavy-lift, long distance UAV has been progressing over several years, we have designed and built several UAVs since 2002,” said De Reyes. “Our team been working together on a Group 5 UAV specifically to fill the need for a UAV that can carry cargo in the range from 2000 to 4000 lbs.”
Sabrewing’s drone can carry cargo to and from the most remote areas on Earth in any weather without pilots aboard, and with greater safety, economy and efficiency than a manned cargo air vehicle. To date, other aircraft such as the RQ-4 Global Hawk have flown over the Pacific but is not commercially available and not designed to carry any cargo. Its mission is strictly for surveillance, reconnaissance and intelligence gathering.
“We’re building a drone that can fill the role of a mid-altitude, long-endurance cargo UAV. Our team has previously built a large-scale, manned air vehicle about the size of our demonstrator; now we’re taking the data and experience that we’ve gathered and building a UAV that can incorporate autonomy, economy, endurance and reliability,” De Reyes said.