12 Aug 10. Sagem (Safran group) has been selected by the Civil Security Division of the French Ministry of the Interior, in a competitive bidding process, to conduct operational trials with the Patroller™ surveillance drone system. During this series of tests, the Patroller system will offer complete image surveillance services in the Provence-Alps-Côte d’Azur region of southern France to support a broad spectrum of civil security missions. It will be fitted with the Euroflir gyrostabilized optronics pod, also by Sagem, including both daytime and infrared sensors. Remotely operated from a ground station via a real-time link, this payload will enable the detection and precision location of fire starts, thus offering invaluable aid to fire-fighting and search & rescue (SAR) teams. The Patroller ground station, located at the Canjuers military camp, will be connected via radio and satellite links to the French Civil Security Division’s command centers. Units in the field will also be equipped with a Sagem RVT portable remote video terminal, enabling the direct reception of images from the Patroller drone in flight. Based at the Cannes-Mandelieu airport, the Patroller aircraft will be operated in drone mode, although it will also carry a pilot to enable it to integrate civilian airspace, as required by current regulations. This is the first contract for the Patroller, a 1-ton-class medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) drone, with optional manned operation, based on an S-15 aircraft built by Stemme of Germany and certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The contract was awarded following four successful series of tests, including the last in drone mode, performed in June at the Istres air base. Patroller draws on the technologies developed by Sagem for the Sperwer Mk II tactical drone system, and the experience logged by this system during deployment in Afghanistan. While keeping costs under control, Patroller also meets defense, homeland security and civil security requirements for long-endurance surveillance missions.
06 Aug 10. Global Hawk brings home the BACN. The first of two RQ-4 Block 20 Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to be equipped with the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) architecture made its maiden flight from Palmdale, California, in July. BACN is already installed in at least one converted Global Express business jet and has been used operationally in Afghanistan, but this is the first installation aboard a UAV. (Source: Jane’s, IDR)
10 Aug 10. France explores gun-launched MAV for urban operations. The Franco-German research centre Institute Saint-Louis (ISL) is planning to stage a system demonstration of a new gun-launched micro air vehicle (GLMAV) in 2011 that it is developing under a three-year programme partially underwritten by the French government’s civil Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR). As a potential dual-use system, the GLMAV programme is also being pursued with input from the Gendarmerie Nationale’s GIGN (Groupe d’Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale), the defense ministry’s DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement) and MBDA’s Missile Division. (Source: Jane’s, IDR)
11 Aug 10. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), part of the NATO
forces in Afghanistan, will continue to utilize Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI) Heron unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as part of Australia’s Project NANKEEN, in cooperation with the Canadian Defense Forces. Experts believe the contract could reach tens of millions of dollars. Almost a year into the project, the Australian Defense Forces (ADF) have announced that they will continue to benefit from the essential operational capabilities the Heron UAV offers in Afghanistan for another year, starting in January 2011. Project NANKEEN was made possible with the cooperation of the Canadian MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA).
Itzhak Nissan, President and CEO of IAI, said: “Thanks to their excellent technolo