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Spain Orders Thales UAVs for Evaluation

> original title:

Spanish Armed Forces Provides its Missions with High Surveillance Capabilities Using a Thales Solution

(Source: Thales; issued June 11, 2018)

The Directorate-General for Armament and Material (DGAM) has awarded Thales two contract to provide Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance capability to the Spanish Navy and Army in their decisive moments during the missions at the operations zones.

The Spanish Navy has selected Fulmar X unmanned aircraft system for the test and evaluation of UAS in experimentation maritime environments. Fulmar X’s maritime version is highly versatile, allowing the aircraft to take off and land while the ship is moving, an ability that gives it unrivalled competitive advantage over other systems available on the market. Fulmar X can be used for a wide range of operational scenarios such as surveillance, reconnaissance, anti-piracy and security tasks.

In addition, DGAM has acquired class I RPAS system to be deployed by the Spanish Army in Operational Zones. By using the new high performance, dual Electro-Optical / Infared payload the system will detect targets, identify threats and provide the necessary information to guarantee security. This digital system will be available throughout the next weeks for being deployed this year.

The Fulmar X system has participated in the RAPAZ programme in various evaluations and more specifically with the Navy in the Santa María Frigate. The Fulmar Team has conducted these operational evaluations in a wide variety of settings, both with the Army and with the Navy and the Marines.

RAPAZ, the DGAM’s RPAS Master Plan, evidences the Armed Forces’ interest in unmanned aerial vehicles, promoting collaborations with companies involved in the research and development of these type of systems. The RAPAZ programme included a variety of assessment trials for the systems in its different categories and environments, for analysing the different national and international RPAS Class-I alternatives for ISR (Identification, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) tasks in support of the Armed Forces, and, in turn, represents a sample of trust to national platforms and helps the development of the national RPAS market.

José Sarnito (Chief Operating Officer, Thales Programas) stated :"This contract is a step towards making a unique European solution available in its range”. He also said that “the DGAM’s support has proven to be crucial for the design of Spanish solutions and technology in the market of remotely piloted vehicles”.

The Fulmar X aircraft weighs 20 kg, with a wingspan of just over 3 metres. It is capable of flying at a height of 3,000 metres, with a range of more than 8 hours and covering distances of as much as 80 km. This system, designed and manufactured in Getafe (Madrid), can conduct intelligence, coastal and border surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

In 2015, Thales won a contract to provide 6 Fulmar systems for the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency to install them in their New-Generation Patrol Crafts for coastal surveillance. The Spanish Ministry of Defence’s trust in the Fulmar RPAS represents confidence in national platforms and as well as the development of the national drone market.