Selex Galileo has completed a new rail-launch test campaign with its Falco tactical unmanned air vehicle design.
Conducted at the Robonic Arctic Test UAV Flight Centre at Kemijarvi in Finland late last month using a Robonic MC2555LLR pneumatic launcher, the campaign culminated with "extreme" launches at high ground speeds, says Selex.
These were "representative of hot and high conditions in heavy take-off weight configurations, as can be expected in dual-payload missions operated from hot plateaus", it adds.
Above: Selex Galileo's Falco is catapulted by a Robonic MC2555LLR pneumatic launcher
Selex says the tests - which built on work performed in Bulgaria late last year - were intended to gather launch statistics, consolidate operational procedures and expand the launch envelope for the Falco. The UAV has a maximum take-off weight of 926lb, including a 155lb payload, and an operating endurance of 8-14h, says its manufacturer.
"The planned launches were all performed in short sequence, thanks to the reduced launcher recovery time and to the consolidated pre-launch procedures," says Selex. These resulted in a time of less than 45min being required between the UAV landing and being launched on its next sortie, the company says, "inclusive of refuelling, loading and pre-flight checks".
Selex already has a launch customer for the Falco that it declines to name, but which has been widely reported as being Pakistan. It earlier this year also identified Libya as a potential future buyer for up to 50 of the air vehicles.