Saab’s Filur UCAV demonstrator completes brief maiden flight

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Saab’s Filur unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) demonstrator was flown for the first time in Sweden last month.

In recent weeks the company had declined to comment on the status of its Filur test campaign, but says it has now received permission from Sweden’s Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) to publish details of the vehicle’s 10min debut flight, which took place from the Vidsel test range on 10 October.

FILUR SAAB

Funded largely by the FMV, the SKr80 million ($9.75 million) Filur demonstration effort will resume in the next few months with the launch of a series of flight tests due to conclude by the end of 2006. The campaign will assess the ability of the low radar cross-section design to conduct a mission without being detected by air-defence radars. Flight tests will resume following a thorough evaluation of the initial sortie to be conducted by Saab and the FMV, says Saab deputy chief executive Ingmar Anderssen.

Building on Saab’s initial unmanned air vehicle experience with the Sharc demonstrator, Filur is intended to assess stealth technologies for possible use in future variants of the Gripen fighter and possibly a future operational UCAV, says Saab.

Meanwhile, the company remains optimistic that the government will give its final approval to Swedish involvement in the French-led Neuron UCAV technology demonstrator programme by the end of the year or early in 2006.