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A new unmanned aerial vehicle features dual-use capabilities. Leonardo’s big new unmanned air vehicle (UAV), the Falco Xplorer, is aimed at providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) to international organizations and countries looking for pay-as-you-go services. This entails selling individual mission packages to international institutions, such as the United Nations, and countries who don’t want to buy and own the asset, according to the company.
The Falco Xplorer, like the company’s current UAVs, is dual-use and offers a lot of space for specialized sensors required by intelligence users. However, the company claims that it has no plans to consider an armed version of the Falco drone line.
According to breakingdefense.com, Leonardo’s current UAV model, the Falco EVO, was chosen by the European Union in December 2018 to demonstrate the possible use of medium-altitude long-endurance UAVs for maritime border surveillance under a similar service contract.
The Falco Xplorer is the largest in the UAV family to date, with a maximum take off weight of 13 metric tonnes and a payload capacity of up to 350 kilograms. It can fly for up to 24 hours at 24,000 feet. Leonardo controls provision of all subsystems, thus providing supply chain security.
Fabrizio Boggiani, senior vice president of airborne marketing stressed that the Falco Xplorer is “totally ITAR free” — meaning that its sales are not limited by US export control rules embodied in the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. The new UAV falls into Class 2 of the 1987 Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) (that limits exports of systems that can deliver a payload weighing 500 kilograms to a target 300 kilometers away), which means it can be exported anywhere in the world, Boggiani explained.