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Thales obtains type certification for Spy’Ranger 330

22nd April 2022 - 14:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Type certification enables the French Army to deploy the SMDR1 mini-UAS2 reconnaissance system to overseas theatres of operations without requiring specific flight approvals.

The Spy’Ranger 330, in service with the French Army as part of the SMDR programme, has obtained its first type certification by the French defence procurement agency’s airworthiness authority.

In a 20 April press release, manufacturer Thales said that type certification guarantees the airworthiness of the SMDR, enabling the army to use its mini-UAS systems for instruction, training and operational deployments without obtaining specific flight approvals.

The Spy’Ranger 330 system was developed for the French defence procurement agency DGA by an ecosystem of French companies specialising in light uncrewed air systems for front-line forces.

‘With three times the range capabilities of its predecessor, the DRAC1, the SMDR system brings the French Army a new, strategically important capability,’ Thales said in a statement.

The SMDR air vehicle can fly for nearly three hours within a radius of 30 km.

Key components of the SMDR system include a multi-sensor optronics payload, which is mounted in the Spy’Ball gyro-stabilised gimbal, the Micro-TMA high-speed datalink, and the Spy’C command-and-control system.

The electrically powered Spy’Ranger 330 air vehicle is made of carbon fibre for low weight and added robustness.

Since December 2020, the French Army has operated the SMDR in Mali as part of Operation Barkhane. The SMDR system has supported military operations and provided force protection by operating in daylight and at night.

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