Airbus Defence and Space Produces 2,000th Target Drone

Airbus' 2,000th target display drone simulates fighter jets, drones, or cruise missiles that air defenders can engage with live fire to ensure their air defenses protect the population in an emergency. (Credit: Airbus)

For more than 20 years, air defenders around the world have been training with Airbus Defence and Space target drones, ensuring that their countries' air defenses work when it counts. Airbus' Target Systems & Services has now produced its 2,000th drone in Friedrichshafen.

The unmanned aerial system with the serial number 2,000, a Do-DT45, will be used in a military exercise at the training ground of Airbus partner Andøya Space Defence in Norway. There, it will be launched by an Airbus team via ramp, accelerate to up to 440 knots (814 km/h) and climb to 25,000 feet (7,620 meters) depending on the requirements. In the air, the Do-DT45 can then simulate a range of threats such as: fighter jets, drones, or cruise missiles, which customers can engage with live fire. The operation does not pose any risk: Andøya Space Defence's training site is a restricted area; the remains of the target drone are disposed of properly.

"The current volatile world situation shows that a functioning air defense is more important than ever," said Frank Härtel, Head of Target Systems & Services at Airbus Defence and Space in Friedrichshafen. "In this respect, we make our contribution to a safer world out of deepest conviction: With our aerial target drones and services, air defenders can prepare themselves in case of threats and save lives."

In addition to the Do-DT45, the Target Systems & Services solution portfolio also includes the Do-DT55 (simulates anti-radar missiles), HT05 (simulates combat helicopters) and Do-DT25 (simulates fighter jets, drones, and cruise missiles). Customers are armed forces from all over the world who use the flight target display as a full service. The Target Systems & Services team brings material and personnel to the site, sets up launchers and ground control stations and gets the drones ready for take-off. The flights are planned and carried out according to the customer's requests.

Do-DT drones are not only useful as target drones. Equipped with sensors and data links, they can also be used to test the interaction of unmanned and manned aircraft for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS)or technologies for autonomous air-to-air refueling.