Leonardo’s new Mirach-40 (M-40) drone has been authorised for operational use by the Italian Directorate of Air Armaments and Airworthiness (DAAA), as the national Military Airworthiness Authority (MAA).
The M-40 is now ready for operations under a 3-year target drone service contract from the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), which commenced in January 2018, the company said in a statement Tuesday.
The M-40 is Leonardo’s latest entry in its ‘Mirach’ drone family, designed to simulate enemy threats and allow air, naval and ground forces to train with air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles such as the Stinger, Aster and Aspide. By looking, on sensors, the same as a threat aircraft or guided missile, the M-40 allows weapon and radar operators to train against a realistic target.
Under the latest service contract, which Leonardo signed with the NSPA, the company will continue to operate its existing Mirach-100/5 while also supplementing training operations with the new M-40.
The new M-40 is unique in that it is designed to provide medium-to-high performance at a price comparable with competitors’ entry-level drones, able to convincingly mimic a variety of aircraft and missiles, including radar, infrared (IR) and visual threats.
The M-40 is able to perform low-altitude sea skimming missions, tight formation flights and high-G manoeuvres. The single-engine M-40 has 60 minutes’ endurance, the company stated.