As of the end of last month, there’s a new drone aircraft in the skies – over Spain, at least. The ATLANTE Unmanned Aerial System is the product of a program run by the Spanish Centre for Industrial Technological Development. It made its first flight on February 28th, at the Rozas airfield in the Spanish city of Lugo.
ATLANTE is equipped with a variety of unspecified automated systems, sensors, and protection systems. It can take off from an unprepared runway, or be launched from a catapult.
Additionally, it was designed to meet standards set for manned aircraft. This means that unlike some similar systems that are limited to use in conflict zones, it will be allowed to fly in civilian airspace.
According to Cassidian, an EADS subsidiary that’s one of the partners in the project, ATLANTE is “the first tactical UAS [Unmanned Aerial System] capable of carrying out both civil and military missions.” These could include urban and rural surveillance, search and rescue, along with the monitoring of natural disasters or sporting events.