Luxembourg, Leonardo and Skydweller sign off on solar-powered UAV collaboration


The Luxembourg Directorate of Defence, Leonardo and Skydweller Aero are to partner on developing a solar-powered UAV that will mainly focus on assessing ISR opportunities. Leonardo said that it signed a Letter of Intent with the other two parties in a 14 June company statement and it added that the Skydweller UAS will be used. ‘This new agreement will initially see Luxembourg’s Directorate of Defence co-ordinate the transportation of the Skydweller aircraft from Albacete in Spain to the Caribbean for long-endurance flight testing and demonstration activities,’ stated Leonardo.

‘This is in support of Skydweller Aero’s contract with US Department of Defense (DoD) to demonstrate zero-emission, long-endurance flight for military applications.’ Leonardo, which is an investor in Skydweller Aero, noted that the solar-powered UAS also features a fully electric power capability and can carry payloads over long distances with ‘ultra-persistent’ endurance. ‘The aim of the [three-party] partnership is to accelerate the development and demonstration of the first mission-capable, solar-powered, autonomous aircraft,’ added Leonardo. ‘The agreement also includes options to identify areas for future collaboration in the development and demonstration of Skydweller in conjunction with Leonardo’s ISR sensors and related capabilities focused on ISR missions.

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