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Leonardo to unveil unmanned Falco 48

Leonardo is to expand its tactical unmanned air vehicle offering with a further evolution of the Falco system.

During a presentation detailing the company’s industrial plan until 2021 to the Italian Senate’s permanent committee for industry, commerce and tourism earlier this month, chief executive Mauro Moretti said: “We are working on a new version and more capable platform called ‘Falco 48’, which is expected to be ready soon.”

Documents accompanying the presentation referred to an “advanced unmanned intelligence and surveillance Falco-family platform.” Moretti did not provide further details, but FlightGlobal understands that the Falco 48 descriptor could indicate an increased flight endurance of approaching 48h.

Moretti also identified the company’s M-345 basic trainer and a light fighter development of the M-346 as current main programmes, and the latter will also be capable of performing reconnaissance, attack and air defence tasks.

Other Leonardo initiatives include an academy that could be established with the support of the Italian air force to deliver “turnkey training packages” to international customers and a new lightweight torpedo with the capability to be air launched, which is believed to be an enhancement of its self-funded Black Arrow system.