Rheinmetall Airborne Systems is a centre of excellence for civil and military unmanned aviation in Germany. The company has long played a pioneering role in research and development, airworthiness accreditation and the training of personnel. Now, with an eye to the future, the company is plotting the course for coming generations of unmanned air vehicles. Germany currently deploys two different types of unmanned reconnaissance aircraft in Afghanistan: the KZO, Rheinmetall’s independently developed tactical UAV; and the HERON 1, operated in cooperation with IAI. Rheinmetall Airborne Systems is also involved in product development for unmanned civil aviation systems such as the OPALE, which can operate with or without a pilot. For over forty years, Rheinmetall Airborne Systems has accumulated unrivalled expertise in the field of cargo loading systems. As a longstanding partner of Airbus, the company is currently supplying cargo loading systems for the A330, A340 and A380 series programmes. At present, Rheinmetall Airborne Systems provides the Loadmaster Control System for the A400M military transport aircraft.
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The origins of Rheinmetall Airborne Systems lie in the Focke-Wulf Works, founded in Bremen in 1923, the North German city which is still the unit’s sole home. Rheinmetall Airborne Systems currently employs a staff of some 160 development and maintenance specialists.