Following successful demonstrations of its proprietary network designed to enable remotely piloted commercial flights beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS), AURA Network Systems (AURA) has closed $75 million in funding.

The deal involves $55 million committed by Fortress Investment Group or its affiliates, and $20 million from previous investors Mudrick Capital Management and Tracker Capital Management, or their affiliates.

The company’s safety-critical network capabilities as a command and control communication service provider were exhibited during the recent National Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) Industry Forum in Springfield, Ohio, as well as mid-July demonstrations in Western Maryland.

Both involved aircraft outfitted with an AURA airborne radio and voice comms module supporting the company’s commitment to provide a safe and reliable communications service encompassing command and control data, telemetry data and air traffic control voice service.

AURA CEO Bill Tolpegin said: “The financing enables AURA to continue our core development work while providing us with the financial runway to launch commercial services in a regulatory-compliant network specifically designed for aviation.”

With the investment from Fortress, managing partner Drew McKnight will serve on the company’s board of directors. He added: “We have followed AURA closely since its founding and are impressed by its launch in 2020 of the nation’s first and only coast-to-coast, secure network purpose-built for the aviation industry.

“We are confident that AURA will emerge as a critical innovator in emerging markets for autonomous air cargo and urban air mobility that together are projected to capture nearly $150 billion in annual spending within the next 15 years.”

AURA co-founders created the company in 2019 to build the safest, most reliable private communications network possible via Federal Communications Commission (FCC)-licensed spectrum for aviation-only use and proprietary technologies.

That approach has led to a four-year cooperative R&D agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and two Space Act agreements with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Last July, AURA raised $30.9 million in equity financing, including $30 million from Mudrick Capital Management and Tracker Capital Management, as well as nearly $1 million from company management. The company’s initial financing totaled $7.5 million.

In July 2021, AURA was one of thirteen companies and one university to sign agreements with NASA’s Advanced Air Mobility project’s National Campaign.