HARTFORD, CT—Chinese manufacturers have dominated the market for commercial-off-the-shelf drones, accounting for up to 70 percent of global production. But, things may be about to change.

The U.S. Department of Justice recently revised its drone purchasing policy and banned the use of federal funds to purchase or operate unmanned aerial systems (UAS), due to potential security risks.

The announcement opens the door for American manufacturers such as Aquiline Drones LLC. In fact, it has signed a U.S. manufacturing and distribution licensing agreements with Drone Volt, a leading French manufacturer of professional civilian drones. Under terms of the agreement, Aquiline Drones will take over the global production of Drone Volt’s popular Hercules 2 and Altura Zenith products. The machines are used for a variety of commercial applications, including agriculture, construction, power line inspection and security.

Aquiline Drones will also be the sole manufacturer of the Pensar smart camera, a multispectral sensor that features artificial intelligence and edge-computing capabilities.

“We are delighted beyond measure for this aptly timed and mutually beneficial union with Drone Volt,” says Barry Alexander, CEO of Aquiline Drones. “While we have been in operation for just under two years, we spent almost four years incubating this idea of making Hartford ‘drone central’ and the State of Connecticut the ‘drone capital of the United States.’

“Our partnership with Drone Volt has catapulted us to the front of the line with world-class design and unmatched capabilities in the commercial drone space,” claims Alexander. “Being able to fill the national UAS void with competitively-priced, American-made drone products and supporting a 100 percent U.S. supply chain is a must.”

Aquiline Drones plans to assemble 1,300 machines by the end of this year, then ramp up to 10,000 drones per month by the end of 2021. The company will also add 55 new technical and manufacturing jobs in Hartford by year’s end, with the goal of exceeding 1,000 positions by the end of 2024.