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Will the force be with VADER?

22nd June 2021 - 16:14 GMT | by Jean-Marc Tanguy in Paris


France has two VADER aircraft in service with a third expected in 2023. (Photo: Jean-Marc Tanguy)

The first ISTAR aircraft developed by the French Air and Space Force will be sent to Mali in July.

For eight years France has leased light ISR aircraft from CAE Aviation for operations in the Sahel as well as in the Central African Republic, Iraq and Libya.

However, starting in July 2021 the French Air and Space Force expects to deploy its own light surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft (based on the Beechcraft King Air 350) under the overdue Vecteur Aéroporté de Détection, d’Orientation et de Reconnaissance (VADER) programme, formerly known as ALSR.

Two King Air 350s were delivered in July 2020 by  Sabena Technics and Thales under a contract dating from June 2016.

A third, scheduled for delivery …

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