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Air Platforms

Falco Xplorer UAV makes maiden flight

20 January 2020
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The Falco Xplorer MALE UAV made its maiden flight on 15 January. Source: Leonardo

Leonardo flew its Falco Xplorer unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for the first time on 15 January, the company announced.

The approximately one-hour flight saw the medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAV depart Trapani Air Force Base on Sicily before returning to the same location.

As noted by Leonardo, the Falco Xplorer, which combines endurance of over 24 hours, a maximum payload of 350 kg, and a service ceiling of 30,000 ft, will now embark on a series of flight tests to assess the aircraft’s full range of capabilities including its integrated sensor system.

Revealed at the Paris Air Show in June 2019, the Falco Xplorer is 9 m long, has a wingspan of 18.5 m, and is powered by a single Rotax engine. It utilises an evolution of the ground control system used on the earlier iterations of the Falco family, while the baseline sensor fit comprises a Gabbiano T-80UL multimode synthetic aperture radar that can undertake mapping and ground moving target indication, as well as a LEOSS gyro-stabilised electro-optic turret and a SAGE signals intelligence (SIGINT) suite. While weapons could be integrated, Leonardo has stated that this is not currently planned for the platform.

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