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Paris Air Show: Patroller integration continues

19th June 2017 - 14:50 by Richard Thomas in Paris

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’.

In April last year the system was finally confirmed as the replacement of the Sperwer UAS deployed with the 61st Artillery Regiment, originally from 2018 onwards.

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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