Lockheed's venture arm bets on counter-drone technology

By Jason Sherman / February 21, 2023 at 10:00 AM

Lockheed Martin's venture capital arm, Hanwha Aerospace and AIM13|Crumpton Venture Partners are collectively investing $17.8 million in Fortem Technologies to help the Utah company scale its counter-drone capabilities, a market forecast to grow to $4.7 billion by 2027.

Fortem announced it closed the new funded round, which also included investments by previous backers DCVC and SIgnia Venture Partners, according to a company announcement.

“The capital will help Fortem scale to meet growing demands across multiple regions and market sectors in airspace and security,” Fortem said in a statement.

In addition to developing counter-uncrewed aircraft systems, Fortem is developing technologies for the advanced air mobility market -- which some call flying cars -- a market size the company believes will grow from $8.9 billion in 2022 to $45 billion by 2030.

“Rapid development and legitimate applications of UAS create an increasingly capable threat when in the hands of bad actors,” Chris Moran, Lockheed Martin Ventures vice president, said in a statement. “Lockheed Martin Ventures’ investment in Fortem Technologies signals our commitment to keeping pace with our customer’s requirements, ensuring the U.S. and its allies stay ahead of ready.”

Fortem’s systems have countered suicide drones, such as the Iranian-built Shahed-136, in Ukraine and helped protect skies over the World Cup games in Qatar, according to the company.

Other prior Fortem investors include Boeing, Toshiba and Mubadala Investment Company.

“We are extremely excited to be working with such respected companies in this funding raise,” Fortem Technologies Chief Executive Officer Jon Gruen said in a statement. “Not only does this investment help us address our rapidly growing market demand, but the level of support and industry experience these companies bring allows us to tap into unparalleled business, technical, and industry knowledge.”