Selex Galileo has put on hold an enhanced version of its Falco unmanned air vehicle, called the Evolution (Evo). It is focusing instead on an all-weather imaging, communications and signals intelligence-capable variant that is designed for African, Asian and Middle Eastern customers.

In 2009 Selex conducted a Falco demonstration flight in an unnamed Middle Eastern location for more than 12h and another in an unidentified North African country that lasted for over 14h. The company has previously said that it hopes to sell the type to Libya. An Asian country - widely known to be Pakistan - is the launch customer for the Falco.

Selex says that it "collated interest" in the all-weather imagery and communications intelligence variant last year, and confirms that this would also have increased endurance available as a future retrofit option.

The Italian manufacturer was to test fly the Evo, with its longer booms, wider 14m (45.9ft) wingspan and payload increase from 70kg (154lb) to 120kg, this year. "Further development of the Falco Evo depends on current negotiations, as we already have all the development plans and know how to move ahead," it says.

In December Selex announced that it had completed full envelope testing of the Falco. This includes the use of electro-optical and synthetic aperture radar sensors, including the company's active electronically scanned array PicoSAR design, plus a smaller SAR package with a ground moving target indication capability.

 Selex Falco W445
© Selex Galileo

However, as the company announced the completion of testing with the UAV, the Italian authorities were investigating last September's heavy landing of a Falco at West Wales airport in ParcAberporth. The aircraft's landing gear and payload were damaged in the incident.

Selex is considering whether it will conduct further activities at ParcAberporth, citing "quite stringent" operating conditions.

Source: Flight International