The Italian Air Force has requested the acquisition of four Leonardo Astore armed UASs and two ground stations as an urgent measure while waiting for the MQ-9A Block 5 to enter service. The Astore UAS is equipped with the Turkish-made Cirit 70mm laser guided rockets and is seen as a gap filler until the introduction of the MQ-9A Block 5 in 2025. The UAS has a weapon payload of 70 kg, an endurance of 16 hours, and an operational range in excess of 200 km. The Italian Air Force has also received the first of two new MQ-9A Block 5 and is upgrading the five Block 1 aircraft currently in service.
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Introducing the Leonardo Astore: Armed with Turkish-Made Cirit 70mm Laser Guided Rockets
The Italian Air Force has urgently requested the acquisition of four Leonardo Astore armed UASs and two ground stations to bridge the gap until the MQ-9A Block 5 entry into service, anticipated by 2025. This cutting-edge aircraft is a further development of the well-known Falco UAS, equipped with the Turkish-made Cirit 70mm laser-guided rockets.
Interestingly, the Italian Air Force has recently received the first of two new MQ-9A Block 5 and is also upgrading the five Block 1 aircraft currently in service. The Block 5 RPA offers a significant increase in capabilities and is expected to be armed, aligning with the Italian Defense Planning in recent years.
Meanwhile, the Astore UAS was requested from Leonardo to address the urgent need for enhanced capabilities. The Astore is a proven platform with a long history, first introduced in 2003 and continually developed to offer the latest in UAS technology.
Fun Fact: The Leonardo Astore can carry a weapon payload of 70 kg and has an endurance of 16 hours, making it a versatile and powerful addition to the Italian Air Force.
Astore retains Falco EVOs characteristics, with a maximum takeoff weight of 650 kg, fully automated flight, multimodal surveillance radar, electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) system, electronic support measures (ESM), communication intelligence (COMINT) systems and multiple radios.
It’s an exciting time for aviation technology, and the Leonardo Astore is at the forefront, ready to meet the demands of the modern battlefield.
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