> our title:

France Prepares for Aerial Drone Ops from Ships

> original title:

D2AD Prepares Aerial Drone Operations from Ships

(Source: French Direction Generale de l’Armement; issued Oct. 22, 2012)

(Issued in French only; unofficial translation by defense-aerospace.com)

PARIS --- France’s defense procurement agency, Direction Générale de l'Armement (DGA), has successfully concluded sea trials of the D2AD rotary-winged drone demonstrator capable of automatic landing and take-off.

D2AD is a joint project between DCNS and Thales, working under a contract awarded in late 2008, and who produced the demonstrator.

About 30 take-off and landing cycles were performed from the French navy frigate Guépratte in late September and early October off the southern port of Toulon. Very tricky maneuvers were carried out with high precision.

This research and technology program is a major milestone for the risk reduction phase of the future SDAM (Système de drones aériens de la marine, or future navy aerial drone) program. Mastering automatic take-off and recovery of rotary-winged drones is a major technological challenge in the difficult context of shipboard operations.

D2AD is comprised of a “flight” segment which consists of an on-board beacon and a harpoon on the one hand, and a “ground” segment comprising sensors on the ship’s flight deck, a ship movement prediction station, and a drone guidance station.

D2AD is independent of any satellite-based positioning system. It can be adapted to various types of drones and to different naval platforms.