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Drone engine maker to set up facility in Columbia Gorge

The Seattle Times

SEATTLE – An Australian company that makes engines for aerial drones is planning to set up a facility in the Columbia Gorge, following a $90 million agreement to supply engines for a Boeing subsidiary.

Orbital, based in Perth, signed a three-year deal to supply Insitu, a major drone manufacturer, with a new unmanned aerial engine.

The compnay plans to move into an existing facility within six months, probably in the Washington town of Bingen where Insitu is headquartered. Bingen is next to White Salmon, across the river from Hood River, Oregon.

Orbital will initially bring about 15 jobs to the area, with more expected later.

Orbital has been working with Insitu for four years on a new propulsion system for Insitu’s ScanEagle UAV, a long-endurance drone that features a sophisticated digital imaging system. It’s used extensively by the U.S military for surveillance in combat zones such as Afghanistan and Iraq.

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