Galileo and Robonic sign MoU: demonstration of new system likely in 2007

Galileo Avionica and Robonic of Finland are to develop co-operatively a catapult launch capability for the Italian company's Falco tactical unmanned air vehicle, with a demonstration likely by mid-2007. The two firms signed a memorandum of understanding on 2 August for the development effort, which is based on the use of Robonic's MC2555LLR rail launcher.

The phased development effort will start with the design of a cradle adapter for the Falco, followed by test launches of a representative mass to assist in predicting air vehicle loadings and identify any necessary structural modifications to the UAV. Galileo plans to offer the catapult launch option as part of its efforts to have a maritime surveillance version of the Falco market ready within the next two years.

The company is targeting the Italian navy's planned next-generation aircraft carrier programme as a near-term market opportunity. "We are currently working to complete the Falco capabilities. The Robonic pneumatic catapult launcher will allow our Falco to also operate from naval platforms for maritime operations," says managing director Renzo Meschini.

Catapult launch may also be offered for potential land-based applications. Design work on the catapult adapter is starting now and instrumented dummy mass launches are expected to be complete by January 2007, says Robonic managing director Juha Moisio. "There are some design-related aspects that have to be clarified," he adds.

The MC2555LLR was used by Sagem last June to demonstrate zero length take-off of its Sperwer B UAV. The launcher has also been studied by BAE Systems as the basis for a catapult-launched version of its Herti air vehicle.


Source: Flight International