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    Italian UAV display team

    PICTURES: Farnborough beckons for Italian UAV display team
    By David Kaminski-Morrow

    While the Boeing 787 and 747-8 appear set to be the commercial showpiece of July’s Farnborough Air Show, military eyes are likely to be drawn to the Italian unmanned formation display team intending to debut at this year’s event.
    Farnborough 2010 organisers have yet to give final authorisation for the Foggia-based ‘Squadriglia Tranquilla’ (‘Quiet Squadron’) to participate, but Flightglobal understands that approval is likely to be granted this month.
    The nine Alenia Aeronautica Sky-X UAVs have been heavily modified, mainly to reduce fuel and maintenance costs. All of the expensive surveillance equipment used during military operations has been removed, leaving relatively simple pre-programmed on-board guidance. Each Sky-X has also been fitted with a smoke canister.

    © Charlie Croker

    Although the nine UAVs are completely autonomous in the air, a ground team of seven ‘ghost pilots’ is collectively responsible for devising the display and ensuring each aircraft’s guidance computer has the correct instructions uploaded before flight.
    “All of the aircraft individually receive a pre-determined course and GPS tracking means it is a simple matter to program them to fly together,” says the team’s manager, Maggiore Antonio ‘Pesce’ da Prile.
    [url=]PICTURES: Farnborough beckons for Italian UAV display team

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