Spain’s Airbus Defence & Space-developed SIRTAP tactical unmanned air vehicle (UAV) has cleared its critical design review (CDR) activity, setting the programme a step closer to service entry later this decade.

In development for the Spanish air force and army, the SIRTAP system should achieve fist flight in prototype form next year, with production deliveries scheduled to begin in the first half of 2027.

Madrid in November 2023 awarded a development and production contract worth €495 million ($592 million) covering nine SIRTAP systems: each with three UAVs and a ground control station.


Source: Airbus Defence & Space

A total of 27 SIRTAP air vehicles will be delivered from the first half of 2027

The Airbus unit notes that the CDR milestone – recently approved by Spain’s defence ministry – “freezes the final system architecture and design”.

“Among the different areas reviewed, alignment between manufacturing capabilities and design principles has been assessed, the maturity of the different systems, sub-systems and equipment has been assured as well as the upcoming validation and verification activities until final system certification by end of 2026,” the company says.

“The manufacturing of SIRTAP’s first prototype components has started, with a significant number of Spanish suppliers involved,” it adds.

The developer has previously detailed the UAV design as capable of carrying a 150kg (330lb)-plus payload, with a range of more than 1,080nm (2,000km). The platform will be optimised for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tasks, with an electro-optical/infrared sensor turret installed beneath its forward fuselage.