France completes Patroller tactical UAV tests
Safran has announced the company's Patroller tactical UAV completed a series of flight tests this summer under the French Defence Procurement Agency's (DGA) tactical drone system (SDT) programme.
The tests stand as a precursor to the 'industrial qualification' of the platform, according to Safran and validated performance of Patroller's two main payloads - the Euroflir 410 optronic, electro-optical pod and an unidentified surveillance radar.
All objectives including optronic and radar payload performance, simultaneous and real-time operation of the payloads, automatic takeoff and landing, mission management, low-noise operation, availability and ease of operation were met during tests which saw Patroller log 76 flight hours over 21 flights.
The French Army has procured Patroller to replace Safran's Sperwer UAS, which it retired in July 2020.
Safran is committed to delivering 14 UAVs and five ground control stations to the French Army, with first deliveries expected in 2022 at the earliest, according to Shephard's Defence Insight.
Safran also holds a separate risk reduction contract to qualify the Patroller for weapons integration, which could eventually see it armed with Thales 68mm Acüleüs LG (Laser Guided) rockets.
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