Leonardo unveils new exportable aerial target drone


Leonardo has unveiled a new exportable aerial target drone, the M-40, at the 2017 Paris Air Show, according to a company announcement.

The Italian company earned its place as the standard threat simulator of international armed forces with its Mirach 100/5 target drone, landing contracts with France, the U.K. and Italy.

The M-40 is a medium- to high-performance drone with an entry-level cost. It features a single engine and refined aerodynamics, allowing for the speed of a twin-engine with lower maintenance cost, according to Leonardo. Additionally, the removal of all pyrotechnics means the M-40 is exportable, ensuring easier storage and transport, the company said.

The M-40 can function as a threat simulator for training purposes by mimicking a variety of aircraft and missiles, using radar, infrared and visual threats.

“This allows Armed Forces to ‘shoot down’ the reusable M-40 in realistic scenarios, allowing them to train with and qualify a wide variety of weapon systems,” the company announcement said. “Because the new M-40 inherits the flight characteristics of the proven Mirach 100/5, it comes with a versatile range of high-performance features including a low-altitude ‘sea skimming’ capability and the ability to execute high-G maneuvers.”

Keeping the ground control stations the same as the M-40’s father drone, Leonardo designed the new drone to require little retraining for armed forces that are used to the Mirach 100/5.

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