> our title:

France Kicks Off Production of Army’s Sagem Patroller UAV

> original title:

France Kicks Off Production of Army’s Future Tactical UAV

(Source: French defense procurement agency, DGA; issued May 17, 2016)

(Issued in French only; unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)

Sagem is preparing to begin production of its Patroller optionally-piloted aircraft for the French army, which has ordered 14 aircraft. Its double sensor payload, optional pilot and very long endurance make Patroller a fairly unique product in a crowded market. (Sagem photo)

On the occasion of his visit the Sagem (Safran group) facility in Montluçon, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian attended the formalization of the production contract for the Système de Drones Tactiques (SDT) by the Deputy Director-General of the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) and the CEO of Safran.

This contract calls for the delivery of two operational systems for the French Army, each composed of 5 Patroller optionally-piloted aircraft, 2 ground stations for monitoring and control of UAVs, and related communications equipment. It also includes the acquisition of four air vehicles and two ground stations for training, in France, and the acquisition of in-service support. Finally, it also includes operational maintenance for a period of 12 years.

This equipment will replace the interim tactical UAV systems (Système de Drones Tactiques Interimaires, SDTI), in operation since 2004 with the 61st artillery regiment stationed in Chaumont. The SDT program meets the operational needs of the Army by providing enhanced performance in terms of endurance, quality of images produced and logistics footprint, as well as a more effective search capability obtained by a multi-sensor approach. The SDT will be able to simultaneously carrying two payloads (initially, optical / infrared / laser and radar, with an electronic warfare package replacing the radar at some future point).

To implement the program, Safran will be supported by the "Cluster Patroller," a grouping of mainly French high technology SMEs, which will bring decisive technological building blocks for the airframe performance and the mission chain. The aircraft is a partnership with the German company Ecarys (Stemme), a renowned manufacturer in the field of motor-gliders and light aircraft.