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Military Air Systems Barracuda

Airbus Defence & Space arbeitet seit Jahren an einem Versuchsträger für unbemannte Aufklärer und Kampfjets.

UAV technology demonstrator (unbemanntes Fluggerät)

Country (Land)

Manufacturer (Hersteller)
Airbus Defence & Space
Rechlinerstraße 1
85077 Manching

Phone: 0049-8459/81-0
Fax: 0049-8459/81-64085

General (Allgemeine Angaben)
Crew (Besatzung): 0

Weapons (Bewaffnung): None. Barracuda has a bay in the fuselage with a length of 2 metres. Originally, an MBDA Brimstone air-to-surface missile was planned, but later emphasis shifted to reconaissance sensors.

Power plant (Antrieb): 1 x Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15D-5C
Thrust (Schub): about 14 kN

Dimensions (Abmessungen)
Length (Länge): 8,25 m
Span (Spannweite): 7,22 m

Weights (Massen)
Empty weight (Leermasse): 2260 kg
Fuel volume (Kraftstoff): 540 kg
Payload (Zuladung): 250 kg
Take-off weight (Startmasse): 3050 kg

Performance (Flugleistungen)
No details available

Customers (Kunden)
None. The demonstrators were built with funding from EADS and its partners.

Costs (Kosten)
The cost of the Barracuda programme was estimated at 40 million Euros.

Remarks (Bemerkungen)
Barracuda is a UAV technology demonstrator. Main features are:

  • fuselage of carbonfibre composite construction, with large upper and lower outer shells produced with the VAP method (Vacuum Assisted Process)
  • carbonfibre wings with metal substructure, detachable
  • triplex fly-by-wire system
  • open, modular avionics system
  • full electrical systems, only for the landing gear and the wheel steering, hydraulics are used.
  • fuselage bay for weapons or reconnaissance systems like IR-sensor, laser marker, SAR radar system

The Barracuda was built with contributions from the following companies:

  • Aerostruktur Faserverbundtechnik
  • AOA (Apparatebau Gauting)
  • Bayern-Chemie Protac
  • CAM
  • DLR
  • Eaton
  • EME
  • Entrak
  • Goodrich
  • Gore
  • Honeywell
  • Kostelezky
  • Jenoptik
  • L3 Communications
  • Liebherr
  • Meggitt (Dunlop Aerospace Braking Systems)
  • Messier-Dowty
  • MSB
  • MTU: Flight Control Computer
  • Paratec
  • Pratt & Whitney Canada: Engine
  • Reiser Systemtechnik
  • RUAG Aerospace
  • SBS Technologies
  • Smiths
  • STT-SystemTechnik
  • Thales

History (Geschichte)
Based on general studies, design work on the Barracuda began in January 2003. During the year, all partners were selected.
After a critical design review in November 2003, work on hardware components began in early 2004. The fuselage was built in Augsburg while the wings came from EADS CASA in Getafe, Spain. In the summer of 2004, all the main systems were bench tested at Ottobrunn. Liebherr also built a test rig to evaluate the actuators and their electrical systems.
Airborne tests of the navigation system were performed on board a Do 228 towards the end of 2004.
On 1 March 2005, the complete UAV was trucked from Augsburg to Manching.
In April 2005, the Do 228 testbed was used with the complete avionics system on board.
In August 2005, the JT15D-5C engine was installed. A first test run was performed on the 12 th of the month.
The „first flight configuration“ of the avionics system was tested on the Do 228 from Murcia airfield before the end of 2005.
First roll tests were performed at Manching, starting on 6 January 2006.
The Barracuda was then flown to Murcia on board a Luftwaffe Transall.
The first flight was performed from Murcia/San Javier base on 2 April 2006. During the 20 minute mission, the UAV followed a pre-programmed route over the Mediterranean before landing back with great precision.
In Mai 2006, the Barracuda was shown at the ILA show at Berlin-Schönefeld.
After ILA, the UAV was prepared for the extension of the flight envelope.
Tests at Murcia were resumed in September 2006, with high-speed taxi trials conducted on the 19 th. On 23 September 2006 the second test flight was performed, but the Barracuda crashed into the sea while approaching the runway. The cause of the accident was a “simple” software programme error.
After the setback, EADS Military Air Systems was studying the development of another technology demonstrator, building on the Barracuda experience but more fully emphasising the reconnaissance role.
In October 2007, the German Ministry of Defence awarded EADS a contract as prime contractor/systems integrator for the so called “Agile UAV in Network-Centric Environments” project. As part of this research and technology programme, EADS will contribute the technology demonstrator Barracuda – that is, it will build a second aircraft, which will be mostly identical with the one that crashed. The Agile UAV programme is slated to run until 2013.
The second Barracuda (99+81) was first seen in early November 2008 at Manching. It was identical to the first. The maiden flight was then expected sometime in the spring of 2009.
The first flight of the second Barracuda took place on 10 July 2009 at Goose Bay in Canada. EADS conducted a test series comprising four flights. During the test campaign in the Goose Bay area of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the jet-propelled demonstrator flew completely autonomously along pre-programmed flight profiles. It was monitored from the ground station with respect to flight safety only.

Last updated 27 July 2009

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Modell Military Air Systems Barracuda
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