Paris Air Show: Patroller integration continues
The French Army is continuing efforts to integrate the Patroller UAV into its force structure following the recent announcement that it will receive two systems from France-based company Safran.
A French defence official, speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons to Shephard, said that the platform could be operational by the 2019-2020 timeframe.
The training of personnel at present is being performed by Safran, although at a future date this will be taken over by the French Army’s 61st Artillery Regiment once it has sufficient capacity.
At Paris Air Show this week, Safran is displaying a Patroller at its stand along with a range of potential payloads that the aircraft can carry, including ELINT, COMINT and other ISR capabilities. In addition an MMP missile payload is also prominently displayed, indicating a potential weaponised capability.
The French defence official said however that there was no requirement for the armed forces to have such a capability and that it was going to be used ‘for intelligence purposes’.
The airframe is capable of carrying a payload in excess of 250kg, with 20 hours of endurance and an operational ceiling of 20,000ft. Each system comprises five aircraft and two ground stations.
The original contract also includes a further four aircraft, two GCS for training purposes and covers a 12-year maintenance plan.
In October 2016 Safran said that it was looking to further secure the Patroller’s future with the potential addition of a maritime surveillance capability, while also exploring local production arrangements with countries in the Middle East and Central America, in particular Egypt and Mexico.
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