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18 A ndrea Maccapani is the chief technology officer for Leonardo’s Airborne Sensors and Mission Systems line of business, where his responsibilities include r&d in unmanned airborne systems. As well as helping to guide the evolution of the technology, he also works with civil and military aviation authorities around the world to help craft the regulations under which they operate and their integration with manned air traffic. An aerospace engineering graduate of the Politecnico di Milano, he also pursued his interest in flying, and qualified as a private pilot at the age of 16. “I had my pilot’s licence before I could drive a car!” he says. This practical experience in the air helped him in his aerospace engineering studies at university. He says, “A lot of my friends had the same passion for aerospace but didn’t fly, so they didn’t know what an equation meant in terms of turn radius, g -forces and all those things that go with flying.” University was followed by national service in the Italian Air Force, after which he joined Alenia Difesa (which later merged into Leonardo) working as a systems analyst on various manned and unmanned fixed-wing aircraft, and manned helicopters. He then took on product support responsibilities for radars and aerial targeting sensors, along with the Falco tactical UAV, the Mirach 100/5 and, later, the Mirach 40. Developing UAV business models However, the role that really took him into the unmanned world was when he was tasked by Leonardo with developing a service business model for UAVs in both military and civilian markets. It also gave him the chance to develop the Mirach 40. By 2010, the Mirach 100/5 was established as an aerial target workhorse, he says, it being a large platform that can carry large and varied payloads for complex missions. “We saw a trend towards less expensive targets, so I proposed a scaled-down version that was aimed at the middle of the market segment – mid-market in terms of cost but with high standards,” he says. “I drafted the initial specs for that, Leonardo’s UAS CTO shares his engineering philosophy with Peter Donaldson , all the while keeping an eye on the future Safety and simplicity April/May 2019 | Unmanned Systems Technology Maccapani developed the initial specifications for the Mirach 40 aerial target, his first close involvement in unmanned vehicles technology (Photos courtesy of Leonardo)