15 Oct 09. France is in talks to buy a fourth SIDM interim medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV from EADS and has bought six tactical SDTIdrones second-hand from Canada, the Defense Ministry said Oct. 15.
“We are in the process of buying a fourth SIDM,” Defense Ministry spokesman Laurent Teisseire said. The French Air Force has three of the SIDMs (Système Intérimaire des Drones MALE) built by EADS and earlier this year damaged one of the aircraft while flying in Afghanistan. The Air Force calls the SIDM Harfang, or Snow Owl. The damaged unit is currently at Mont de Marsan in central France and is expected to return to operation in 2010, a procurement official said. The fourth SIDM, which has been used for training, is also expected to be deployed next year.
A purchase of six SDTI (Système de Drone Tactique Intérimaire) from Canada has been completed, Teisseire said. “They are already on the ground.” Officials from the Direction Générale pour l’Armement (DGA) procurement office are inspecting the six Sperwer tactical UAVs to determine their operational condition, Adm. Christophe Prazuck said.
19 Oct 09. SELEX Galileo Welcomes Milestone Achievements in NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance Programme. As a member of the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) programme industrial team, SELEX Galileo of Finmeccanica welcomes the finalisation of the Programme Memorandum of Understanding by the 15 participating nations. NATO nations have approved the funding guidelines for the acquisition and production phase of the
AGS programme and have also selected the Italian base of Sigonella, in Sicily, as the location for their main operating base. Northrop Grumman Corporation leads a trans-Atlantic industrial team representing each of the 15 participating nations. SELEX Galileo is, together with EADS, one of the two first tier European Companies leading the development and production of such a vital and unique defence capability. SELEX Galileo, as the nominated Italian Lead Industry, takes part into this trans-Atlantic programme with a leading role in the Mission Operation and Communications segments, the latter being provided by SELEX Communications, also a Finmeccanica Company. SELEX Galileo is also a key component of the AGS overall system integration team, led by Northrop Grumman, and is responsible for establishing direct cooperation activities with Rumanian and Bulgarian industries, two key members of the AGS programme 15 participating nations.
09 Oct 09. US Army seeks to improve MAV readiness rates.The US Army is working through some training and design alterations to its unmanned Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) after the system experienced inadequate readiness rates during a recent user test for the Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) Modernisation programme: one of the follow-on efforts to Future Combat Systems. “The [Class I unmanned aerial system] turned out to be our biggest challenge,” Colonel John Wendel, programme manager for IBCT Modernisation, told Jane’s on 7 October at the Association of the US Army (ASUA) conference. (Source: Jane’s)