A small Thunder Bay company is looking to make a big mark in the aerospace industry, thanks to some help from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation.
Aerovate Incorporated designs and manufactures propulsion systems and airframes for unmanned aircraft, or drones. A $60,000 NOHFC grant will help as the company prepares to launch its product this fall, said Andrew Kondor, company president.
The system has both military and non-military applications.
The military application would be for reconnaissance, where a camera would be attached to the drone.
Non-military applications would be similar, but the drone would be used for monitoring high-traffic areas, such as ports and harbours, or tracking certain animals to identify migration routes.
"It's a lot more inexpensive to operate a drone to do such activities over having helicopters overhead or small aircraft," Kondor said.
"What our system does is … allows them to extend their range on the same amount of fuel, and basically … give the aircraft a lot more overall performance, from takeoff to cruise."
There's already interest from the American, the Israeli aerospace program and several Canadian companies, he noted.
The fledgling company is heading to a "big trade show in Washington D.C., where basically the who's who of [the] aerospace industry will be attending," Kondor said. "And we'll be showcasing our product there. From there we'll be … taking orders and so forth."