Today, Luxembourg's Minister of Defence (MoD) François Bausch signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Skydweller Aero and Leonardo to explore opportunities for future cooperation involving the Skydweller Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS).
This new agreement will initially see Luxembourg's Directorate of Defence assist the transportation of the Skydweller aircraft from Albacete, Spain, to the Caribbean for its long-endurance flight testing and demonstration activities - in support of Skydweller Aero's contract with U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to demonstrate zero-emission, long-endurance flight for defence applications.
Skydweller is the world's first solar-powered, fully electric Unmanned Aircraft System capable of carrying large and heavy payloads over long-distances with ultra-persistent endurance. The aircraft is currently undergoing development by Skydweller Aero, a US/European start-up. Leonardo is a strategic investor in Skydweller and the company's primary industrial partner. Leonardo serves as the primary interface and prime contractor for Luxembourg's Directorate of Defence with regards to the Skydweller project.
The objective of the partnership is to accelerate the development and demonstration of the first mission-capable, solar-powered, autonomous aircraft. The agreement also includes options to identify areas for collaboration in the development and demonstration of the Skydweller in conjunction with Leonardo's ISR sensors and related capabilities focused on ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) mission sets.
"The Skydweller platform is an innovative project in the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) framework where the Luxembourg Defence has been operating in the Land, Air and Space domain since decades. This project is perfectly in line with the Luxembourg Directorate of Defence's ambition to decarbonize the military, to reduce military emissions and fossil fuel dependency and thus to reduce the carbon footprint of the sector,” declared Luxembourg MoD François Bausch. "Furthermore, fostering the development of green dual use projects like Skydweller will also have a long-term beneficial impact on civil aviation, another of my political priorities and responsibilities.”
"This partnership demonstrates the shared vision between Skydweller and Luxembourg's Directorate of Defence in the development of the Skydweller platform to bring this mission-capable, sustainable ISR platform to U.S. DoD and its allies,” said Skydweller CEO Dr. Robert Miller. "We are extremely grateful to Luxembourg's Directorate of Defence for their important contribution to this effort.”
"Leonardo has a long heritage of building and equipping manned and unmanned ISR platforms and intends to bring a new class of persistent and sustainable capabilities to such a critical domain.” Laurent Sissmann, Senior Vice President Unmanned Systems at Leonardo commented. "As a strategic and industrial partner of Skydweller, we are delighted to count on the support of the Luxemburg Directorate of Defence and the experience of the Luxemburg Defence in ISR related matters for the research and development and flight-test campaign of such a breakthrough capability as Skydweller. We really can say that Luxemburg MOD and Leonardo share the vision that Skydweller is this one of a kind endeavor where sustainability and ISR capabilities truly match and reinforce each other.”
Released by the Directorate of Defence, Skydweller Aero Inc. and Leonardo