M-40 Target Drones in Italian Navy training
- February 19, 2019
M-40 target drone, developed by Leonardo, flew its first live missions during a recent Italian Navy training exercise.
The exercise saw the aircraft carrier Cavour and its complement of AV8B+ fighter aircraft training alongside the Navy destroyer Mimbelli against M-40 drones which were simulating a range of incoming threats.
During the exercise, the M-40 played the part of a missile to simulate an attack against the Italian naval vessels and separately acted as a hostile enemy fighter in air-to-air combat scenarios. During these missions, the Navy personnel were able to ‘shoot down’ the
reusable M-40 in realistic scenarios, allowing them to train with weapon systems including Aspide missiles.
The M-40 is an unmanned air vehicle which is able to convincingly mimic a variety of aircraft and missiles. It provides medium-to-high performance at a price comparable with competitors’ entry-level drones.
Leonardo owns and operates the M-40 on behalf of the Italian Armed Forces, under a managed service arrangement with the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA).
This exercise was the first set of missions to make use of the M-40, which is able to represent a full spectrum of radar, infrared (IR) and visual threats.
Alongside the M-40, Leonardo continues to offer the Mirach 100/5, which shares a ground control station with the new M-40. During the exercise, the Mirach 100/5 was employed to simulate a missile attack against the naval vessels, allowing the crew to train with SM1 and Aster 15 missiles.