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France to receive long-awaited Patroller UAVs

The first Patroller UAVs are to be delivered to the DGA shortly. (Safran)

The Tactical Drone System (Système de Drone Tactique: SDT) for the French Army is soon to achieve a major milestone with delivery of the first Safran Electronics & Defense Patroller fixed-wing tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to the French defence procurement agency (Direction générale de l'armement: DGA).

An initial five UAVs and two ground control stations will be delivered to the DGA in December, the company's press officer, Pascal Debergé, told Janes.

The company was awarded a EUR350 million (USD343 million) contract on 5 April 2016 to supply 14 Patroller UAVs, six ground control stations, and associated training and support to increase the intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) capability of the 61st Artillery Regiment, replacing the Safran Sperwer UAV.

The Patroller is a medium-altitude, long-endurance platform based on the Stemme ECARYS ES15 utility aircraft that can operate for up to 15 hours at an altitude of 16,000 ft, with a line-of-sight range of 180 km and a maximum speed of 200 km/h.

It is equipped with the Safran Euroflir 410 gyrostabilised multispectral imager, and the Leonardo Electronics PicoSAR synthetic aperture radar and ground-moving target indication radar (SAR/GMTI) that features active electronically scanned array (AESA) technology.

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