France is increasing its intelligence capabilities with its own surveillance UAVs
PARIS, (BM) – Minister of Armed Forces of France Florence Parley announced the transfer by the Directorate General for Armaments (DGA) of the first three reconnaissance LHC manufactured by Thales NE of the country, learned Bulgarian Military.com.
The complexes received the designation SMDR (Systeme de MiniDrones de Renseignement).
After the DGA tests of the complexes received, the Directorate granted permission for the transfer of the first French NE systems. As planned, UAVs will be ready for combat use by the end of 2020.
The supply of French SMDR systems by SMDR will significantly enhance their capabilities in reconnaissance, detection and identification of targets in the combat zone.
In accordance with the Law on Military Programs for 2019-2025, ten more reconnaissance mini-UAV complexes should be delivered by the end of 2020, and in 2021 35 systems will be received.
As BulgarianMilitary.com reported, in early 2016, the French Ministry of Defense sent a number of companies proposals for the supply of up to 70 sets of small UAVs (210 in total), which received the designation SMDR (Systéme de MiniDrones de Renseignement). They are intended to replace the armed DRAC UAVs used by the French Army since 2008.
In December 2016, the DGA selected Thales as the winner of the tender, with which a contract worth 104.3 million euros was signed, providing for the supply of 35 sets of UAV Spy Ranger and their maintenance for 10 years. The agreement includes an option to supply another 35 sets.
UAVs will be used to collect information, observation and reconnaissance, target designation and fire adjustment, support the destruction of enemy strongholds.
Thales developed and will deliver the complexes together with two French companies: Aviation Design and Merio.
Each kit includes three Spy Ranger UAVs with payload, a control station, and auxiliary ground equipment. The UAV’s wing span is about 3.8 m, weight – 14.5 kg, flight duration – 2 hours 30 minutes, radius of action – up to 30 km.
The UAV is equipped with a Spy’Ball retractable multifunctional optoelectronic reconnaissance station located on the bow developed by Merio with high-resolution day / night cameras, an electric motor that drives a two-bladed composite propeller mounted in the rear, and lithium-polymer batteries , communication channel antenna and processing module.
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