Alenia Aeronautica, a Finmeccanica company, last year participated in the first flights of its Sky-Y, an operational demonstrator for a new-generation UAV. It is Alenia’s first in the MALE (medium-altitude, long-endurance) category to be conceived, designed, and built in less than a year.
First flights were from the Vidsel air base in Sweden. It reached an altitude of 3000 ft and a speed of 110 knot. It has been designed to carry out missions of more than 12 h and to reach an altitude of 26,000 ft. It has a mass of about 1 t and uses an adapted automotive diesel engine.
A particularly important aspect of its development program concerns verification of the use of the engine and of its carbon-fiber structure. At last year’s Paris Air Show, Alenia Aeronautica signed a cooperation agreement with Dassault and SAAB for the development of new-generation systems.
Both military and civil surveillance applications are envisioned for the final UAV product, the Molynx, for which the Sky-Y is serving as testbed.