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Clouds gather over SDAM rotary-wing drone programme for French Navy

3rd August 2022 - 14:00 GMT | by Jean-Marc Tanguy in Paris

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VSR700 rotary-wing UAV. (Photo: Jean-Marc Tanguy)

Is time running out for the SDAM programme to prove its utility to French decision-makers?

In recent months the idea of ​​cancelling the Système de Drone Aérien pour la Marine (SDAM) rotary-wing maritime UAV programme seems to have taken hold in France, despite the considerable work already put into the initiative by Airbus, French procurement agency DGA and the French Navy.

Initial at-sea flight trials with a prototype Airbus Helicopters VSR700 were held in early 2022, with the aircraft flying from a civilian vessel.

A new SDAM campaign is planned in the south of France from a FREMM multi-mission frigate later this year, and a second VSR700 prototype aircraft — ordered in 2020 and funded

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Jean-Marc Tanguy

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Jean-Marc Tanguy


Jean-Marc Tanguy started its career in journalism on 1991 and focussed quickly on defence matters …

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