Selex Sensors & Airborne Systems is setting up an unmanned air vehicle test and evaluation centre at the ParcAberporth civil UAV centre in Wales to support its sensor payload development activities. The move establishes Selex as ParcAberporth's first major corporate tenant.

The centre will operate two Galileo Avionica Falcos as flying testbeds, initially focusing on qualification of payloads for the UAV, beginning with the Selex PicoSAR synthetic-aperture radar.

However, Selex also plans to operate the facility as a commercial service, allowing other developers to use the Falco for flight-testing payloads.

The Falco flown on the demonstration day will remain at ParcAberporth

David Lazarus, head of UAV marketing at Selex Sensors & Airborne Systems, says most existing UAV payload development flight testing is carried out with manned aircraft, but this precludes parallel development of operational concepts for the use of the sensor, necessitating additional flying.

A Falco flown during this month's ParcAberporth UAV demonstration day will remain based at the West Wales airport to provide an initial capability for the Selex unit. The second air vehicle is to arrive later this year. Fit checks for PicoSAR aboard Falco are to be completed by the end of this month.

The bulk of the broader Falco development flight programme will continue to take place at fields in Bulgaria and Italy. Selex says it has secured a UK Civil Aviation Authority exemption for ongoing Falco flights from ParcAberporth.

Source: Flight International