Leonardo-Finmeccanica said it has two customers for its Falco Evo long-endurance unmanned aircraft system. The manufacturer did not identify those first two customers, saying only that they are existing military customers of the Falco platform based in the Middle East region.
During a briefing on Wednesday at the Farnborough Airshow, Leonardo-Finmeccanica executives described the latest evolution of the Falco, which they said is “ready for the market.” The Falco Evo comes with a higher maximum takeoff weight—650 kilograms (1,433 pounds) compared to 490 kg for the Falco—a longer wingspan of 12.5 meters (41 feet) and greater payload capacity of 100 kg (220 pounds).
The Falco Evo has greater endurance of 20 hours and can be configured for three sensors, among them the PicoSAR active electronically scanned array (AESA) ground mapping radar, the Gabbiano 20 multi-mode surveillance radar, the new Osprey multi-mode AESA radar and the Sage electronic warfare system.
Leonardo-Finmeccanica reports five current Falco customers, but it has identified only one—the manufacturer is providing the aircraft to the United Nations for a humanitarian mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Some customers have purchased a managed service agreement with Leonardo-Finmeccanica; others have acquired Falco platforms and operate them independently. More than 50 Falcos are operating around the world.
Existing Falco air vehicles can be converted to Falco Evo models via a retrofit package which adds the longer wings and tailbooms, allowing the aircraft to fly up to 6,000 meters (19,685 feet) with an operating range of 200 km (124 miles) in line of site. There is also the possibility of incorporating a satellite datalink to extend its range, executives said.