Italy's Galileo Avionica is developing a new air-launched mini-unmanned air vehicle, initially intended to be launched from target drones, such as the Mirach 100 during weapons tests and training activities. Named Locusta, the system will act as a secondary target, mainly for air defence surface-to-air missiles that are intended to destroy their targets with a direct hit, writes Pino Modola.

The jet-powered Locusta is 1.8m (5.9ft) -long, has a carbonfibre cylindrical airframe with a deployed wingspan of about 1m and weighs 20kg (44lb). Its onboard equipment includes a communications link, which allows a ground controller to monitor the flight and to eventually command its termination. Two of the systems can be carried and released by a Mirach 100 drone.

Galileo Avionica is also evaluating decoy and tactical reconnaissance variants for release from manned aircraft and says development of the systems could start in 2006.

Source: Flight International