Saturday, December 2, 2023

Leonardo presents the Falco Xplorer drone, a European alternative to the MQ9 Reaper

On the occasion of the 2019 Paris Air Show, the Italian company Leonardo presented its new MALE Falco Xplorer drone, whose performance and characteristics would make it an alternative to the American General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper. Indeed, the device, the largest drone built by the Italian company to date, reaches a cruising speed of 350 km/h, a carrying capacity of 350 kg, and an autonomy of almost 24 hours.

Certainly, these performances are lower than those of the American champion, but the Falco used by Washington to hinder export options for equipment built outside the country and using American subsystems. This legislation notably interfered with the contract concerning an additional Rafale order by Egypt, an order which includes MBDA SCALP EG stealth cruise missiles, which integrate some of the components subject to it.

The Falco Xplorer is in the certification phase, both by NATO and by civil authorities, so that it can be used in shared regulated spaces, as well as by civilian operators, such as coast guards, customs, etc. It carries a Gabbiano T80 surveillance radar, a LEOSS optronic turret, an ELINT SAGE system, as well as a naval automatic identification system, all of these elements being produced by Leonardo. According to the manufacturer, the new drone will be ready for delivery in 2020.

Fabrice Wolf
Fabrice Wolf
A former French naval aeronautics pilot, Fabrice is the editor and main author of the site. His areas of expertise are military aeronautics, defense economics, air and submarine warfare, and Akita inu.

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