Six flights in two weeks, performance beyond specifications, congratulations from the Swedish staff of the Vidsel range: this is the summary of the test campaign that saw the Alenia Aeronautica Sky-Y UAS take to the air again after about a year.
The campaign aimed to evaluate the Sky-Y not as an air vehicle but as a system, including the functionality of its subsystems, integrating among other things the Selex Galileo EOST-45 electro-optical sensor and relaying imagery in real time (save for the satellite delay) from Sweden to the operational center of the Piedmont Civil Protection in Turin.
The testing involved the entire mission system, including the mission computer developed by Quadrics, the new datalink and the new Tactical Control Station, which includes among other things the Remote Sensor Operator Station developed entirely by Alenia Aeronautica. The Civil Protection used a data relay cart designed by Telespazio, also a Finmeccanica company.
The system showed itself to be very reliable, with performance exceeding the initial specifications and an operating potential greater than expectations.
The Sky-Y came to Sweden in mid-October and was immediately reassembled and checked on the ground while its flight authorisations were processed. The first flight – the ninth overall since the maiden flight in 2007 – was a general shakedown flight. After the EOST-45 was installed and tested, the fourth flight simulated a complete search and identification mission of a ground target.
The flights extended to over 80 miles (125 km) from the ground station, flying for over 20 miles (30 km) over the forests and lakes of the Polar Circle, overflying regions populated only by elks, reindeers and the occasional Lapps.
This allowed the Alenia team to verify the maximum datalink range in an operational surveillance misssion over mountain roads and distant lakes, spotting moving and hidden vehicles, identifying “hot” ones because of running or recently run engines, and even surveying small hamlets at the end of the Vidsel range.
This allowed all the subsystem functionalities and the overall Sky-Y system. The flight test campaign was wrapped up with the sixth flight – the 14th overall – and the Sky-Y team returned to Italy to analyse the data gathered and to plan the next step of the development program.
Sky-Y Wraps Up Successful Flight Test Campaign