Leonardo has introduced its largest-ever Remotely-Piloted Air System (RPAS), the Falco Xplorer.
Building on the Falco family of tactical-class RPAS, the new drone features a payload capacity of 350kg, more than 24 hours flight time and a satellite communications capability for beyond-radio-line-of-sight operations, all within a 1.3 ton maximum take-off weight.
“Everything is designed in-house by Leonardo, from the aircraft itself to the sensor suite, mission system and ground control station and the Falco Xplorer will be offered as both an integrated platform and as a fully-managed information-superiority service. In the latter model, Leonardo will operate the aircraft and its sensors and manage logistics to provide actionable information directly to the customer.”
This is similar to how Elbit operate their maritime patrol aircraft service with unmanned aircraft, more can be found on that here.
“Leonardo invests continuously in new capabilities to ensure we position the right products in the right markets”, said Leonardo CEO Alessandro Profumo, who presented the Falco Xplorer at its unveiling.
“The Falco Xplorer is designed to be extremely competitive in its category, building on the experience we’ve gained working with Falco family customers over a number of years and our Company’s strengths in the unmanned domain. By understanding and being able to meet our customers’ needs, we expect to increase our share of the unmanned systems market.”
The new drone is expected to embark on its maiden flight in June from Trapani Airport in Italy. The firm say that a series of trials will then take place throughout the year, capped off by a flight campaign with the platform’s fully-integrated sensor suite on-board.