PICTURE: Alenia's Sky-Y UAV returns to the air

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Alenia Aeronautica has launched a flight-test campaign with its Sky-Y unmanned air vehicle technology demonstrator and expects to complete 15 long-endurance sorties by late July.

The Sky-Y air vehicle made a flight of about 1h from the Italian air force's Decimomannu air base in Sardinia on 18 June, opening the Italian company's fourth phase of testing with the design.

Alenia Aeronautica is using the new flights to test an experimental flight-control system developed in collaboration with its Alenia SIA subsidiary. The firm has previously been involved in developing the flight-control system for Alenia Aermacchi's M-346 Master advanced jet trainer.

alenia aeronautica sky-y, alenia aeronautica
 © Alenia Aeronautica

The Sky-Y has also been equipped with a Selex Communications wideband datalink for the new campaign. This will enable the aircraft to make video, image, data or voice transmissions to a ground control station up to 200km (108nm) away and at a rate of up to 45Mb/s, Alenia says.

A baseline version of the datalink will be available for export in 2011 for use with UAVs and manned surveillance aircraft, with a NATO-standard system to follow in 2012.

The performance of the Sky-Y's Selex Galileo EOST-45 electro-optical/infrared sensor will also be assessed.