By Peter La Franchi in Parc Aberporth

Parc Aberporth in west Wales is to become the focus for unmanned air vehicle (UAV) payload integration and flight testing for defence electronics specialist Selex Sensors and Airborne Systems.

The new centre will commence operations almost immediately with Selex finalising agreements with the Welsh Development Agency and Parc Aberporth centre management on 7 July, during the annual Parc Aberporth UAV flying day.

Selex plans to operate two Galileo Avionica Falco UAVs from the centre as flying test beds with initial activity to focus on qualification of payloads for that type.

The establishment of the facility, which is to commence operations immediately, accords Selex the status of being Parc Aberporth's first major corporate tenant.

Galileo Avionica Falco W445

A Falco aircraft flown during the ParcAberporth UAV demonstration day (pictured above) will remain based at the West Wales airport to provide an initial capability for the Selex unit. The second aircraft is to arrive later this year.

Falco will operate from the airport under an civil airspace exemption granted by the UK Civil Aviation Authority

The Parc Aberporth UAV flying day attracted 600 delegates and exhibitors. As well as Falco, the flying programme saw sorties by Aerovironment’s Puma and Raven systems, Vincourt’s Nitro Hawk, and Sonic’s tethered blimp observation system.

Nitro Hawk also starred in a one day emergency services user community demonstration held at ParcAberporth in early June. Welsh Development Agency authorities say they are planning additional user community demonstrations over the coming year as part of efforts to widen understanding of unmanned systems among civil authorities as part of efforts to help widen the market for the technology.

A full round up of ParcAberport 2006 will be published in next week’s Flight International magazine.

Source: Flight International