Tuscon-based Advanced Ceramics Research has been akin to co-joined twins, one side of company focusing on bioceramic applications and the other producing unmanned aerial vehicles. Now it looks like the twins are getting separated. Today, BAE Systems, a long-time defense contractor, announced it would be acquiring ACR’s UAV business. Without knowing the details, its hard to know exactly what’s going on, but this probably makes sense for both companies. BAE is a huge enterprise and has tremendous access to capital and a big sales force. ACR’s UAVs, such as the Silver Fox and Coyote, were respected in the tactical UAV markets, and a company the size of BAE can probably take the UAV business to a new level. ACR, on the other hand, seems confident. Anthony Mulligan, an ACR official, said, “We still own the materials portion which is about the same size as the whole company was only a few years ago.” I suspect that ACR can now focus on its bio apps (a sector that should see substantial growth due to the aging U.S. population). The company has a system for mid-surgery custom creation of bone implants that are slowly absorbed, while retaining structural integrity until natural bone growth occurs.
ACR also probably has a few new ideas up its sleeve about how to exploit its ceramics manufacturing skills