Alenia Touts UAV Capability
Alenia Aeronautica is claiming leadership in Europe of unmanned aircraft development, following the recent completion of new flight tests of the Sky-Y demonstrator. The five flights took place within specially designated airspace in the Puglia region of Italy, and followed 14 earlier flights on the test range at Vidsel in northern Sweden. Images from the Sky-Y’s electro-optical sensor (a Selex-Galileo EOST-45) were managed by software developed by Alenia and relayed by a Telespazio satellite link to a ground station at Italy’s Civil Defence Agency. The flights practiced overland and overwater surveillance.
Alenia also developed the Sky-X demonstrator for unmanned air combat. It has flown 29 times and contributed to the development of the Neuron UCAV demonstrator, in which Alenia is a major partner. However, Alenia’s progress has not yet resulted in contracts to supply the Italian air force. It recently confirmed an order for Predator-B (Reaper) UAVs from General Atomics. They will be delivered at the end of the year to supplement the Predator-As that have been used since early 2005 to support Italian military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.