Airbus Defence & Space is continuing development work on its Tanan vertical take-off and landing unmanned air vehicle, including weaponising the platform, despite the lack of a confirmed customer.
Ground test firings using MBDA’s 15kg (33lb) MMP guided missile have already taken place, with airborne firings to follow at an undisclosed date.
A model of the 350kg-class UAV was displayed at AUVSI showing two side-mounted missile pods, alongside MBDA’s developmental Enforcer munition, a 7kg guided missile designed to target soft-skinned vehicles. Trials using Enforcer are also envisaged at a later date, says the missile manufacturer.
Airbus has been conducting test flights of the Tanan at its new higher weight for around six months, having been scaled up from its initial 300kg maximum take-off weight.
Although no customer has yet selected the UAV, discussions with potential operators are ongoing and there is “a very real likelihood” of an eventual deal, says Airbus.
“The next stage is to fully industrialise Tanan. There is no immediate intention to grow it, we want add different payloads and really bring it into service,” says the company.
Production of the UAV would take place at the company’s facility near Versailles in the north of France.