France tests domestic AVATAR – a mini drone armed with HK416 AR

PARIS ($1=1.03 Euro) — The French Directorate General of Armaments [Direction générale de l’armement or DGA] has begun testing the AVATAR mini-drone. A photo posted on Twitter via the official DGA account shows the drone armed with the HK416 assault rifle [AR].

France tests domestic AVATAR - a mini drone armed with HK416 AR
Photo credit: DGA

AVATAR is a project led by DGA Land Techniques and is being developed for the needs of the French Ministry of Defense. In the future, such a device will be useful to French commandos in battles in urban conditions or special operations.

There is still no official information on what stage the tests are, but from the statements of some French officers, it is clear that they are in the initial phase. As of now, the French have successfully attached the assault rifle to the drone. The desire of the French Ministry of Defense is that in the future AVATAR will hit targets at a distance of 100-150 meters. According to a head of the DGA, live ammunition tests will begin at the end of this year and the beginning of next year.

This is not the first attempt by the French to “breakthrough” in the field of armed drones with military equipment. Years ago, for example, DJI’s best-selling Chinese drone Matrix 600 was tested in a similar configuration. However, the French specialists were unable to achieve the desired result.

DGA sources that despite the tests, AVATAR still has difficulties with the stability of the rifle on the drone. There is another problem that will have to be solved – the recoil of the rifle during shooting.

However, AVATAR is designed to carry more than 6 kg of additional cargo, which is the limit in the civilian Chinese DJI Matrix 600. This will give additional operational possibilities to the French.

France is looking for different ways to increase the combat capability of its army. Last but not least – the war in Ukraine gave answers to some questions, as well as revealed the unsuspected possible uses of unmanned aerial vehicles.

For example, the French Ministry of Defense is planning the development [or purchase] of kamikaze drones [loitering munitions like Switchblade]. Until a few months ago, France did not even have mini drones. However, the appearance of AVATAR is a step forward. Surely the DGA is working on projects we have yet to hear about.


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