Autonomous cargo aircraft manufacturer Natilus has picked Brown Field Municipal Airport in San Diego as its manufacturing and engineering base.

The Brown Field facility includes a 12,000 square foot facility for final assembly, structural testing, systems integration and secondary structural bonding.

Brown Field’s 8,000 foot runway can accommodate large aircraft and 1,500 square feet of office space will supplement Natilus’ engineering offices in downtown San Diego.

Aleksey Matyushev, Co-Founder and CEO of Natilus says: “As the design of the prototype aircraft nears completion, we are expanding the team and facilities to move into final assembly. Our tier one suppliers are excited about the new platform which will reduce carbon emissions, while increasing cargo volume. On continents, such as Africa and parts of Asia, with limited infrastructure, our new 3.8 ton autonomous aircraft will become an essential mode of rapid and safe transportation.”

Natilus plans to make four types of aircraft and the smallest model with a payload of 3.8 tons is expected to start flying next year.

It also has designs for a 60 ton payload drone for medium and long-haul services, a 100 ton payload UAV for long-haul flights and a 130 ton payload cargo aircraft for long-haul services.

The aircraft will use JetA or SAF fuels and existing ground infrastructure and standard air cargo containers.