ALTIUS-600 Achieves UK Milestone in ALE Test with Leonardo

Engineers ready an ALTIUS-600 vehicle for flight at Predannack Airfield in Cornwall, United Kingdom. Photo courtesy of Anduril.

Anduril Industries, in partnership with engineers from Leonardo UK, completed a series of live trials of new technologies which will underpin the development of air launched effects (ALE) capabilities, the company announced in a blog post on its website.

ALE include releasing and controlling drones in mid-air from host aircraft.

The joint trials were conducted at Predannack Airfield in Cornwall in December 2022, using crewed-uncrewed teaming control software and Anduril’s ALTIUS-600 vehicle. The Anduril Industries-Leonardo team was able to evaluate and gather real-world performance data on a range of hardware and software components critical to future multi-asset collaboration drone capabilities, the company said.

The team developed and practiced drone to aircraft coordination, flight maneuvers, waypoints, loiter positions, and overall command and control necessary for multiple aircraft to function together autonomously.

Anduril’s ALTIUS is a versatile platform designed for missions including standoff ISR&T, kinetic engagement, RF decoy, signals intelligence, communications relay and RF and cyber warfare. Like all Anduril systems, the ALTIUS platform is autonomous, giving one operator the ability to control multiple assets. ALTIUS-600 is designed to be launched from any platform, including common launch tubes on fixed-wing aircraft or rotor-wing aircraft in both high and low altitude.

By launching teams of sensor-equipped drones or other payloads that can then fly miles ahead of the aircraft, crews can stay out of harm’s way and deliver effects with extreme precision.

The December trials included the first ALTIUS flight in the United Kingdom and an important step in gathering real-world performance data on hardware and software components that will be essential in developing future ALE capabilities.

The Anduril Industries-Leonardo trials cap a year of important milestones for the ALTIUS-600 platform. ALTIUS-600 demonstrated collaboration capabilities in May at the U.S. Army’s EDGE22 event. In September, in cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, ALTIUS-600 flew into the eye of Hurricane Ian, successfully traversing through one of the most severe and rapidly intensifying hurricanes of the last decade.