Airbus has clinched a €495 million ($544 million) contract with the Spanish Ministry of Defence for the development and acquisition of the Sistema RPAS Táctico de Altas Prestaciones (SiRTAP) multirole medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS).
The agreement, signed on November 29, entails the delivery of nine SiRTAP systems to the Spanish military, comprising three unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) each, along with a ground control station and two simulators for training. The SiRTAP system is designed for advanced surveillance, intelligence, and reconnaissance missions, both over land and at sea, with a payload capacity of over 150kg.
The SiRTAP's specifications include a range exceeding 2,000km and an endurance of more than 20 hours, allowing for flexibility and reactivity in day and night operations, even in demanding environments. Certified to fly in segregated airspace, the tactical UAS is set to operate collaboratively with other platforms as part of a system of systems. The prototype's first flight is anticipated in 2025, contributing to Spain's national industry and enhancing capabilities in the field of Remote Carriers for Future Combat Air System (FCAS).
In a significant development, Colombia, actively participating in the development and production program, is set to become a customer for the SiRTAP. Additionally, in July 2023, Serbia expressed its intention to join the program, further extending the international collaboration on this UAS.
The SiRTAP's use of ITAR-free components is expected to play a key role in the international market. Primarily designed for Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) operations, the modular UAV can be adapted for various mission sets.
Spain's acquisition of 27 SiRTAP tactical unmanned aerial systems (UAS) represents a major modernization of its airborne ISR capabilities for the army and air force. This move allows for the replacement of existing Israeli-made Spanish Army Searcher MkII aircraft and strengthens the Spanish Air Force's ISR drone capabilities alongside the U.S.-designed Predator drones already in operation.