The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approved to start flight tests of one of the largest and most advanced civilian drones in development in Europe, the Targus. For the first time, a 1.25-ton aircraft prepared to fly with and without a pilot (Optionally Piloted Vehicle – OPV) has been granted such a permit in Spain.

Indra has achieved this milestone after several years of close work with the Galician company Gaerum, its technological partner in the project.

The Optionally Piloted Vehicle is one of the key projects addressed within the Civil UAVs Initiative. This is the first time that an OPV of 1.25 tonnes and made in Spain has obtained such a permit to fly.

The safety requirements in the aeronautical industry are extremely demanding and, for this reason, Indra and its partner Gaerum have had to pass a completely new and complex test process before obtaining this certification from the aeronautical authorities.

One innovative element that has been used intensively is the simulation of the aircraft and all its systems in order to validate design decisions and run tests without the need to fly. This has allowed validation of the behavior of the aircraft throughout a complete simulated mission, from takeoff to landing. In this way, risks have been minimized and security has been reinforced, saving costs, according to the company website.

The first tests will begin immediately and will aim to verify that the modifications and system installed on the plane do not alter its behavior in flight.

Starting next April, remote flight tests will begin, which will last for a year. During the tests, the cockpit pilot will assign control to the ground control center and will only intervene in the event of an incident and at the critical moments of landing and take-off.

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