This marks a significant shift in the marketing strategy of the Italian defence company. Until now, Leonardo has refrained from disclosing the potential for drones to carry weapons systems, instead focusing on intelligence and reconnaissance capabilities or the involvement of unmanned aerial vehicles in search and rescue (SAR) missions in its marketing communications.
Leonardo ha presentato il suo drone armato Falco Xplorer a Le Bourget.
Il drone italiano è equipaggiato con un missile Brimstone. pic.twitter.com/ZFtmZu4BaM
— Angelo Gambella (@agambella) June 22, 2023
This move by Leonard seems to have been based on lessons learned directly from the battlefield in Ukraine, where drones are widely used and the key role of modern anti-tank missiles has been confirmed.
According to a representative from the company quoted on the Breaking Defense website, Leonardo has successfully completed the integration of the Falco Xplorer drone with the Brimstone 3 anti-tank missile.
Leonardo’s offering may attract the interest of current users of Brimstone missiles, as well as prospective customers. The acceptance of armed unmanned systems into service is no longer considered taboo in Europe, as demonstrated by Germany’s ongoing negotiations with Israel to acquire weapon systems for their leased Heron TP drones from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).