Leonardo has completed series of successful test flights of its Falco EVO Remotely-Piloted Air System (RPAS) in Bulgaria. The flight campaign was to validate a package of upgrades that extends the endurance and operational range of the platform for overland and maritime missions.
This includes a Beyond-Line-Of-Sight (BLOS) satellite data-link system and a new propulsion system based on a heavy-fuel engine. As well as extending the flight envelope of the Falco EVO, the new engine was also proven to generate more electricity on-board the platform, granting access to more power-intensive ISR sensors required for complex missions.
Further trials are now planned that will see the Falco EVO flying equipped with Leonardo’s new Gabbiano TS Ultra-Light (UL) surveillance radar (launched at the Paris Air Show in 2017) combined with a high-definition InfraRed (IR) electro-optical system, Automatic Identification System, and a comms relay suite.
The Falco EVO, the longest-endurance model from Leonardo’s Falco RPAS family, is a surveillance and intelligence-gathering platform suited to overland and maritime missions. It can fly for more than 20 hours while carrying a payload of up to 100 kg.
The Falco EVO has already been delivered to its launch customer in the Middle East region, while the original Falco RPAS has been chosen by five customers and will shortly be deployed in the Mediterranean for a European surveillance programme.
Leonardos 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
Leonardo has begun deliveries of its new ‘BriteCloud decoy to the UKs Royal Air Force for combat missions following the Ministry of Defences formal go-ahead for the new technology. The drinks-can-sized countermeasure, which protects fighter jets from modern radar-guided missiles, will be available for use by Tornado GR4 crews in the near future The RAF will be the first air force in the world to field this new protective technology
Leonardos SW-4 Solo optionally piloted helicopter successfully completed its maiden flight without a safety pilot onboard at Taranto-Grottaglie Airport in Italy. Tests included remote engine start up and shut down with ground run, automatic take-off and landing, hovering OGE (Out of Ground Effect) and acceleration to forward flight, automatic way point navigation to and from the area of operation and simulation of a surveillance mission
Leonardos AWHERO remotely piloted helicopter will achieve certification next year as flight trials activities continue with the existing test aircraft. Two new prototypes are being assembled at Leonardos fully owned company Sistemi Dinamici plant in Pisa (Italy), the press release states
Leonardos new Falco Xplorer multi-senor strategic surveillance drone, considered a competitor to the General Atomics Grey Eagle drone, undertook its maiden flight in Italy. Not subject to International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) restrictions and meeting the criteria for a Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) class II, Falco Xplorer is readily exportable around the world, a Leonardo release said
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