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Ukraine conflict: Aarok UAV to be built in Ukraine

The largest UAV to be built in France, the Aarok will now be built in Ukraine to help the country's war effort against Russia. (Turgis & Gaillard)

The Ukrainian government has agreed with the Turgis & Gaillard group to the in-country production of its Aarok unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

Signed as part of a wider raft of defence co-operation agreements between Ukraine and its allies, the Aarok production deal will see the French manufacturer and Antonov team on production of the medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAV.

French newspaper La Tribune reported the development on 4 October, quoting Turgis & Gaillard founder Fanny Turgis.

First revealed at the Paris Air Show in June, the Aarok is the largest UAV designed in France. With a wingspan of 22 m and a maximum take-off weight of 5.5 tonne (of which 3 tonne is payload), the UAV is designed for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), communication relay, and strike.

Payloads include the Safran's Euroflir 610 electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor, as well as the Sagem SBU-54 Hammer AASM (Armement Air-Sol Modulaire) precision-guided bomb, and other air-to-surface munitions.

Company performance figures give the Aarok a cruise speed of 287 mph and a cruise altitude of 30,000 ft. Earlier in 2023 Turgis & Gaillard said it was preparing for the first flight later in the year or early 2024.

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