In a test series comprising four flights, EADS Defense & Security (DS) has successfully tested the unmanned flight system (UAV – Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) ‘Barracuda’ at Goose Bay air force base in Canada. Technologies and procedures to be used in future mission-ready unmanned aerial systems have thus been put to the test in realistic conditions.
During the test campaign in the Goose Bay area of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the jet-propelled demonstrator flew completely autonomously along pre-programmed flight profiles. It was monitored from the ground station with respect to flight safety only.
The new, successfully tested unmanned aerial system is a further development of the first Barracuda technology test bed which performed its maiden flight in April 2006. Since that time the software, systems and solutions for the methods and processes carried out under the Agile UAV programme have been continuously developed to form an integrated system. The results of these modifications, which had so far only existed as computer models, have now been successfully tried and tested in flight on the Barracuda.
The flexibility of the software and the modular capabilities have also been enhanced. This makes the system even easier to adapt to a wide range of UAV missions which will then be verified and validated using the Barracuda built by EADS Defence & Security.
These successful flights in Goose Bay have given EADS Defence & Security practical confirmation of the results of technology programmes it had already conducted on its own initiative. Moreover, the Barracuda is used for test flights in the ‘Agile UAV in Network Centric Environment’ technology programme commissioned by the Federal Office of Defence Technology and Procurement (BWB – Bundesamt für Wehrtechnik und Beschaffung).
“The successful flights by our unmanned aerial system – the largest ever yet built in Europe – underscore our competence in developing and offering market-driven solutions to meet the multifaceted requirements of our customers in one of the world’s most promising future markets in our sector,” commented Dr. Stefan Zoller, member of the EADS Executive Committee responsible for Defence & Security. “This powerful demonstrator widens the technological UAV product portfolio from EADS Defence & Security within the scope of our own high-performance systems,” Zoller stated. “It enables us to offer a full range of UAV products from tactical systems to complex reconnaissance and surveillance systems.”
Bernhard Gerwert, Head of the DS Business Unit Military Air Systems (MAS), emphasised: “We once again have a demonstrator for the autonomous and network-centric UAV mission systems of the future. The unmanned aerial system designed by EADS Defence & Security and manufactured in Germany and Spain can be used for a wide range of tasks in the development and risk minimisation of reconnaissance UAVs.”
Gerwert went on to explain that the technology demonstrator had been built largely with EADS Defence & Security’s own funds and with resources contributed by the German Army, the BWB and the supplier companies involved in the programme.
Even if this new version of the UAV demonstrator is not destined for series production, EADS will be able to gather fundamental insights for operationally mature next-generation UAV products – either alone or in cooperation with European partners. With this demonstrator, EADS Defence & Security will gain practical experience in the interoperability of unmanned systems within Network-Centric Operations conducted in line with the latest NATO criteria and in autonomous operation involving interaction with other systems. This also makes it possible to reduce any risks involved in developing the planned new UAV Talarion.
Military Air Systems is an integrated activity of EADS Defence & Security (DS). DS is a systems solutions provider for armed forces and civil security worldwide. Its portfolio ranges from sensors and secure networks through missiles to aircraft and UAVs as well as global security, service and support solutions. In 2008, DS – with around 23,000 employees – achieved revenues of EUR 5.7 billion.
EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2008, EADS generated revenues of EUR 43.3 billion and employed a workforce of about 118,000.