• The latest-model M-40 target drone, which offers a majority of the performance of the Mirach 100/5 at a significantly reduced cost, has now been authorised for use by the Italian Military Airworthiness Authority (MAA);
• Leonardo is operating a target drone service for Italy’s Armed Forces under a 3-year contract with the Nato Support and Procurement Agency;
• Developed in-house by Leonardo in Italy, the M-40 is readily exportable and will join the Company’s Mirach 100/5 which has been used by more than 16 international Armed Forces.
Following comprehensive testing at the PISQ (Poligono Interforze Salto di Quirra) joint armed forces test range in Sardinia, Leonardo’s new Mirach-40 (M-40) target drone has been authorised for operational use by the Italian Directorate of Air Armaments and Airworthiness (DAAA), as the national Military Airworthiness Authority (MAA).
This means the M-40 is now ready for operations under a 3-year target drone service contract from the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), which commenced in January 2018.
The M-40 is Leonardo’s latest entry in its ‘Mirach’ drone family, designed to simulate enemy threats and allow air, naval and ground forces to train with air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles such as the Stinger, Aster and Aspide. By looking, on sensors, the same as a threat aircraft or guided missile, the M-40 allows weapon and radar operators to train against a realistic target.
For 20 years, Leonardo have owned and operated the Mirach 100/5 drones on behalf of the Italian Armed Forces under a managed service arrangement at the PISQ test range. Under the latest service contract, which Leonardo signed with the NSPA, the Company will continue to operate its existing Mirach-100/5 while also supplementing training operations with the new M-40.
Leonardo’s target drones have enjoyed a long period of success dating back to the 1970s. The Mirach 100/5 target was originally certified by the Italian MAA in 1998 and went on to become a common part of international navies and air forces’ toolkits. The system has been used to help train a large number of Armed Forces including those of the Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, UK, Algeria, Argentina and Israel.
The new M-40 is unique in that it is designed to provide medium-to-high performance at a price comparable with competitors’ entry-level drones, able to convincingly mimic a variety of aircraft and missiles, including radar, infrared (IR) and visual threats.
To make sure its performance appears as true-to-life as possible, the M-40 is able to perform very low-altitude sea skimming missions, tight formation flights and high-G manoeuvres. As a service, managed by Leonardo, the single-engine M-40 will provide significant cost savings to the customer as it is inexpensive to run and has a full 60 minutes’ endurance.
Leonardo (leonardocompany.com) is among the top ten global players in Aerospace, Defence and Security and Italy’s main industrial company. As a single entity from January 2016, organised into seven business divisions (Helicopters; Aircraft; Aero-structures; Airborne & Space Systems; Land & Naval Defence Electronics; Defence Systems; Security & Information Systems), Leonardo operates in the most competitive international markets by leveraging its areas of technology and product leadership. Listed on the Milan Stock Exchange (LDO), at 31 December 2016 Leonardo recorded consolidated revenues of 12 billion Euros and has a significant industrial presence in Italy, the UK, the U.S. and Poland.