The world’s first launch and operation of a remote flight test demonstrator of an Airbus A400M large-body aircraft has been successfully completed in flight, as reported on Monday, December 12, by Airbus and its partners (Bundeswehr Federal Republic of Germany), German Aerospace Center DLR and German companies SFL and Geradts .
One of the future roles of Airbus military transport aircraft in the Future Combat Aviation System (FCAS – Future combat air system🇧🇷
The device that will launch remote control carriers from the A400M in flight was developed in just six months. For the test flight, it was loaded onto a Bundeswehr A400M ramp, on which the Remote Carrier demonstrator, a modified Airbus Do-DT25 drone, was launched.
After launch, the Do-DT25’s engines were fired up and it continued in powered flight mode. The crew aboard the A400M then handed control to an operator on the ground, who safely captured and landed the drone.
“The outstanding collaboration with our German customers and partners on the A400M UAV Launcher campaign is further evidence of how FCAS takes innovation and technologies to the next level,” said Michael Schulhorn, CEO of Airbus Defense and Space. “FCAS as a system is now taking shape.”
Remote carriers will be an important component of FCAS. They will fly in close cooperation with manned aircraft and support pilots in their missions and missions.
Military transport aircraft such as the A400M will play an important role: as a mother aircraft, it will bring remote carriers as close as possible to their areas of operations before launching up to 50 small tankers or up to 12 heavy remote tankers. These aircraft will then join the manned aircraft, which operate with a high degree of automation, although always under the control of the pilot.
Preparing the A400M UAV Launcher for testing
To prepare the A400M UAV Launcher for the test campaign, Airbus, the Bundeswehr Technical Center for Aircraft and Avionics Equipment (WTD 61), DLR, SFL and Geradts implemented new ways of working such as rapid prototyping and a joint flight test approach.
This allowed the multidisciplinary team to develop and integrate the system, bringing it into context with the required systems systems at very short notice, ready for flight testing.
Throughout development, this flexible industrial setup and new collaborative working methods have been supported by the German purchasing office BAAINBw.
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