Leonardo's new M-40 target drone has completed its first live missions for the Italian Navy during a recent training exercise at an armed forces test range.
Able to represent a full spectrum of radar, infrared (IR) and visual threats, the M-40 is the latest evolution of Leonardo’s Mirach family of unmanned airborne targets. According to the company, the M-40 has been developed to offer medium- to high-performance target presentations at a price comparable with competitors’ entry-level drones.
The recent live firing exercise saw the aircraft carrier Cavour and its complement of Harrier II+ aircraft training alongside the destroyer Mimbelli. The M-40 drones were used to simulate incoming anti-ship missiles, and also to act as a hostile enemy fighter in air-to-air combat scenarios.
During these missions, navy personnel were able to ‘shoot down’ the reusable M-40 in realistic scenarios, allowing them to train with weapon systems including Aspide missiles. Because of its lower operating costs, the M-40 was able to provide the same level of training as previous exercises at a significantly reduced cost.
Leonardo (Stand 06-B07) owns and operates the M-40 on behalf of the Italian Armed Forces, under a managed service arrangement with the NATO Support and Procurement Agency.
Alongside the M-40, Leonardo continues to offer the high-performance Mirach 100/5 target, which shares the same ground control station as the new M-40.
During the recent Italian Navy exercise, the Mirach 100/5 was employed to simulate a missile attack against the naval vessels, allowing the crew to train with SM-1 and Aster 15 missiles.