Swiss defence procurement agency Armasuisse has taken delivery of the first production example of Aurora Flight Sciences' Centaur optionally piloted aircraft.
Based on a Diamond Aircraft DA42 modified by Aurora at its facility in Manassas, Virginia, the twin turboprop arrived at Emmen air base in Switzerland on 28 November.
From January, Armasuisse will use the Centaur as a flying testbed in a manned configuration. Unmanned sorties are due to follow from March after the successful completion of "hybrid" system trials in Virginia and Switzerland. Armasuisse says these will include the aircraft being remotely-controlled by a crew in a ground control station, while also having a safety pilot onboard.
Technologies to be tested on the Centaur include new sensors and the sense-and-avoid equipment required to operate as a UAV within Swiss airspace.
Armasuisse is the launch customer for the Centaur.