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A new model of a target drone will support military training. Following comprehensive testing, Leonardo’s new Mirach-40 (M-40) target drone has been authorized 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).  

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.

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, according to the company’s statement on its website.

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 maneuvers The single-engine M-40 has a full 60 minutes’ endurance.