At the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget Leonardo unveiled its largest-ever drone, the Falco Xplorer. This latest addition to the Falco family of remotely-piloted air systems with a 1.3 ton maximum take-off weight has a payload capacity of over 350kg and an endurance of more than 24 hours. The company announced that the Falco Xplorer is readily exportable and also undergoing certification for flight in non-segregated airspace.
The baseline ‘Block 10’ equipment fit for this new RPAS offers a comprehensive Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capability over land and sea. Falco Xplorer will be equipped with a Gabbiano T-80 surveillance radar, LEOSS electro-optical turret, SAGE electronic intelligence (ELINT) system and an automatic identification system (AIS) for maritime use. The sensors will be integrated through Leonardo’s mission management system, that incorporates the experience in both the manned and unmanned domains plus protection from cyber-attacks as standard under the Company’s ‘secure by design’ philosophy. According to the company Leonardo can also flexibly modify the sensor suite in-line with customer requirements, including integrating third-party sensors. The platform’s Ground Control Station (GCS) allows operators to control the aircraft and its sensors and incorporates data exploitation tools, enabling the dissemination of useful information to wider C5I systems. It also provides mission data analysis, mission planning, training and simulation capabilities.
This new platform joins Leonardo’s Falco family of tactical RPAS with the original Falco being chosen by five nations, while its successor, the Falco EVO, has been chosen for the United Nations MONUSCO humanitarian mission and has been deployed for the European Union’s Frontex surveillance research programme. Today more than 50 Falco family RPAS are currently engaged on operations around the world, some being operated by customers directly and some being owned and operated by Leonardo on behalf of customers as a managed service.
“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 builds on our experience working with Falco family customers over a number of years. By understanding and being able to meet their needs, we expect to increase our share of the unmanned systems market.”