Airbus has unveiled its previously undisclosed Low Observable UAV Testbed (LOUT) programme.
It is understood that the programme recently completed the ‘iterative camouflage optimisation’ phase, prompting Airbus and the German defence ministry to provide some details about the programme.
It has been reported that the non-flying testbed was shown to media in carefully controlled conditions while it was mounted on a pole in a radar cross-section measurement chamber at an Airbus plant in southern Germany.
According to Airbus, the program took a “holistic approach” to stealth, simultaneously focusing on three aspects: reducing radar, IR, visual and acoustic signature, controlling electromagnetic emission of sensors and using electronic countermeasures for jamming and deception.
Initial studies by Airbus started in 2007. In 2010, the manufacturer received a contract from the German Ministry of Defense for a very low observable (VLO) ground testbed to experiment on reducing radar, infrared and sound emissions.
It is understood that LOUT served to test stealth technologies that could later be used on the Next Generation Fighter, part of the Future Air Combat System (FCAS) programme jointly being developed by Airbus and Dassault.