EADS Military Air Systems has released a video of the first flight of its closely guarded Barracuda unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) technology demonstrator, ahead of exhibiting the design for the first time at next week’s Berlin ILA air show.
Powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15D-5C turbofan engine, the air vehicle conducted its 20min debut flight from San Javier air base in southern Spain on 2 April, completing a fully autonomous sortie (pictured below). Further testing was curtailed by poor weather conditions, and flights are now expected to resume later this year at a yet to be confirmed location.
Developed over a three-year period and manufactured at EADS’s Augsburg and Manching plants in Germany and EADS Casa’s Getafe site near Madrid, the approximately 3t Barracuda has a carbon-fibre composite airframe and an expected maximum speed of Mach 0.8. The aircraft is 8m (26.2ft)-long with a 7m wingspan and uses triplex flight control and navigation units and electro-mechanical actuators to power its control surfaces.
Future testing is expected to include the integration of electro-optical/infrared and synthetic-aperture radar sensors, laser designation and emitter location systems, and potentially air-launched weapons, says EADS.