LONDON, 10 Sept. 2009. SELEX Galileo, of Finmeccanica, has completed an intensive flight campaign for Falco, its Tactical Unmanned Aerial System (TUAS), to expand its ISR capabilities through the integration of multiple sensors and additional functionality.
The flight campaign included flights at SELEX Galileo's dedicated UAS facility at Parc Aberporth in Wales and at the UAV Arctic Flight Test Centre in Finnish Lapland, owned by Robonic, the Finnish catapult producer.
SELEX Galileo also validated the latest version of High Mobility Ground Control Station (HM-GCS), which further enhances the system's ISR credentials. The HM-GCS is self-contained and offers a full training/simulation environment and mission rehearsal capability.
Exploiting a new and more powerful datalink, the system performed "hand–over" missions, which combined a number of Ground Control Stations (GCS). This in-flight hand–over increases the overall operational capability of the system by overcoming the inherent Line of Sight (LOS) data link limits of a single ground station, says a representative.
During the campaign, SELEX Galileo integrated and tested different payloads. Falco flew with a combined payload including the Electro-Optical and InfraRed (EO/IR) sensor and a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), enabling the system to perform demanding surveillance missions in low visibility conditions. The radar sensor is PicoSAR, SELEX Galileo's active electronic scanned array (AESA) radar specifically designed for UAVs. The radar's capability includes high-resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI).
The high-resolution SAR, coupled with change detection, make the radar useful for countering improvised explosive devices (Counter-IED) missions where the system can identify, with accuracy, possible disturbance of the ground surface.
The campaign also served to test catapult launches and automatic landings of the Falco at full weight, confirming the capability to include further payloads or ECM.
Falco was launched in a range of configurations in different environmental conditions.