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$43M deal to trial Heavy-lift UAS in Alaska


Sabrewing Aircraft Company, Inc. (USA) and the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island (ACSPI), the Unangan (Aleut) Tribe of Native Alaskans, located on St. Paul and St. George, Pribilof Islands, jointly announced that they have signed a history-making agreement for Sabrewing to provide a mix of up to ten aircraft – featuring both the 800-pound-payload “Rhaegal” and the 4400-pound-payload “Wyvern” aircraft.


43M deal to trial Heavy lift UAS in Alaska Wyvern - concept art (Picture source: Sabrewing)


Both aircraft will be tested in a new test range that was created by ACSPI following the ratification of the FAA Reauthorization Bill by Congress last fall.
The ACSPI is creating the largest aircraft test range – both manned and unmanned – on the Bering Sea, centered about St. Paul Island.

“We currently test small drones under the FAA rules on our island. Under the H.R. 302, the FAA Reauthorization Act signed in October of 2018, our community is able to establish its own test range, allowing us to serve the flight test needs of the Department of Defense and industry as well,” stated Amos Philemonoff, Tribal Council President, Aleut Community of St. Paul Island.

Under the agreement, Sabrewing will provide equipment and training to allow the ACSPI community to initiate and operate a complete test range complex, known as the St. Paul eXperimental Test Range (SPxTR) Complex (“Spectre Complex”). St. Paul Island is located approximately 230 miles to the north of Unalaska-Dutch Harbor and 770 miles west of Anchorage. Centered in the Bering Sea, St. Paul Island and the SPxTR Complex, will be one of the largest aircraft test ranges in North America.

In addition to the aircraft and test range, Sabrewing and ACSPI are creating a joint venture corporation to provide UAV pilot training, maintenance and dispatcher training, and aircraft replacement and spare parts. The joint venture provides a vehicle for military and governmental contracting. Under this agreement, Sabrewing will build and sell (or lease) its cargo aircraft to commercial customers, and the joint venture will train the aircraft’s remote operators, mechanics and dispatchers.