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VADER completes first African tests

25th June 2021 - 10:45 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


VADER (left of picture) with Rafale. (Photo: French Air and Space Force)

Acclimatisation flights in Djibouti prepare the French airborne ISR platform for its first deployment to Mali.

The first VADER light surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft for the French Air and Space Force completed its first mission from 28 April to 21 May 2021, the French MoD announced on 22 June.

The hot-weather tests in Djibouti ‘made it possible to assess the logistical support and resilience of the equipment in an environment close to its future missions’, the MoD noted.

These ‘future missions’ include deployment to Mali, Shephard recently reported.

VADER (formerly known as ALSR) IS based on the Beechcraft King Air 350 ISR aircraft. 

Two were delivered in July 2020 by  Sabena Technics and Thales under a contract dating from June 2016. According to Shephard Defence Insight, they are operated by the air force but owned by the French intelligence services.

A third is scheduled for delivery in 2023, and the French Air and Space Force wants eight in all to be in service by 2030.


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