Leonardo’s new M-40 target drone flew its first live missions for the Italian Navy in a recent training exercise at an Italian joint armed forces test range.
The exercise saw the aircraft carrier Cavour and its complement of AV8B+ fighter aircraft training alongside the destroyer Mimbelli against M-40 drones which were simulating a range of incoming threats.
The M-40 is an unmanned air vehicle which is able to convincingly mimic a variety of aircraft and missiles. It provides medium-to-high performance at a price comparable with competitors’ entry-level drones.
During the exercise, the M-40 played the part of a missile to simulate an attack against the Italian naval vessels and separately acted as a hostile enemy fighter in air-to-air combat scenarios.
During these missions, the Italian Navy personnel were able to ‘shoot down’ the reusable M-40 in realistic scenarios, allowing them to train with weapon systems including Aspide missiles.
The company say that this exercise was the first set of missions to make use of the M-40, which is able to represent a full spectrum of radar, infrared (IR) and visual threats. 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.