A few days ago the Spanish Army and Navy received the first SEEKER Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS). SEEKER is the unmanned aircraft that will boost the intelligence-, surveillance- and reconnaissance-capabilities of the Spanish Army’s 6th «Almogávares» Paratroopers Brigade (Brigada «Almogávares» VI de Paracaidistas del Ejército de Tierra) and the (Marine Infantry Protection Force (Brigada de Infantería de Marina del Tercio de Armada), two elite forces that enjoy international renown and prestige.
The deliveries were made by the company’s specialist personnel in Almogávares’s Príncipe de Paracuellos del Jarama Base and the Tercio de Armada (TEAR)’s San Fernando
The RPAS has been financed by the Subdirectorate General of Planning, Technology, and Innovation (Subdirección General de Planificación, Tecnología e Innovación) of the Directorate General of Armaments and Material (DGAM) as part of the Spanish MoD’s RAPAZ program.
SEEKER, one of the most efficient of any RPASs, boasts a 90-minute endurance, a 15-km range, and weighs in at 3.5 kg. In Spain the aircraft and its systems have been designed by the companies GMV and Aurea Avionics ; it was totally manufactured on Spanish territory, and this proved crucial when it came to mitigating the effects of the broken supply chains at the start and middle of the year.
Despite the COVID-19 epidemic the manufacture, test flights and delivery of the aircraft were all performed within the project deadlines, thanks to a switch in working methods and a reorganization of the activities by the personnel of both firms and the MoD.
Intensive training courses were held in the final phase of the project, on the Madrid
site of Aurea Avionics and the Los Alijares Firing and Maneuvering Range (CMT) of Toledo. These courses helped the future SEEKER users to familiarize themselves
with its theoretical and practical aspects. The classroom parts of the courses, given
by specialist personnel, were topped up with several real flight sessions in which
army and navy personnel were trained up in use of the RPAS, which was put
through its paces by means of mission simulations and solution of contingencies. All
this helped to hone vehicle-tracking exercises and identify goals, among other
SEEKER will provide BRIPAC (Paratrooper Brigade) and BRIMAR (Marine Infantry
Brigade) with real-time thermal-infrared and visible-spectrum video, augmented by
metadata that can be mined in situ by the operators and remotely by the
command-and-control centers. This is due to the new ground-station architecture,
which has been completely digitalized to make SEEKER compatible with NATO’s
standard command centers. Any allied force will therefore be able to integrate the
aircraft directly into its fleet and command centers, adding on versatility and ensuring joint operability between all troops and systems.
This gives a wholly Spanish product a strong international projection, allowing it not only to form part of the ongoing modernization project of Spain’s armed forces but also to play its full part in the growing cooperation and collaboration of Europe’s defence industries.
The delivery of these systems cements GMV and Aurea Avionics’s reputation as
cutting-edge firms in the unmanned aeronautics sector, capable of supplying the
armed forces with essential equipment for their modernization. For some years now
both companies have been successfully taking part in important defence and
security programs, and the incorporation of SEEKER into Spain’s elite troops now
proves the perceived trustworthiness of the national aeronautics industry.
GMV is a privately-owned technology business group founded in 1984 and trading on a
worldwide scale. GMV is currently the world’s number-one independent supplier of ground control systems for commercial telecommunications satellite operators, and the European leader in Global Navigation Satellite Systems (EGNOS and Galileo). It is also the primary provider of C41 command and control systems for the Spanish Army. Furthermore, GMV is the leading firm in the development of avionics system (A400M, ATLANTE, etc.) and forms part of the SATNUS consortium, national leader of the Remote Carriers Pillar under the NGWS/FCAS program.
Aurea Avionics is a Spanish technology company whose core business is the development
and marketing of state-of-the-art unmanned aerial systems (UASs) for defence and security. Specializing in low-weight, rapid deployment aircraft, it offers systems that ensure advanced situational awareness with the concomitant tactical superiority in hostile environments.