The French Army is to decide, until the end of the year, on introducing another type of UAV into operational use. One of the tender offers has been placed by the Sagem company, proposing the Patroller system.
Patroller is an UAV which is based on a German Eecarys ES15 motor glider which was designed in order to achieve long flight endurance. The first flight test of the UAV took place in 2008, however, the first flight without the pilot on board happened two years later. According to Frederic Mazzanti, vice-president of the Optronics and Defence division of the Sagem company, the new drone conducted “hundreds of flights”, starting from that moment. Within the last three years, multi-dimensional testing programme of the on-board avionics has been carried out. The tests were related to the Euroflir 350 and Euroflir 410 optronic systems and the COMINT pod which is used to detect the sources of electromagnetic radiation.
Currently the Patroller UAV is going through the certification process. The certificates to be obtained are required in order to conduct sorties within the French airspace.
The manufacturer released information, according to which tests of the new UAV, involving the French Army, are going to be carried out next month. During these tests, a system which would make it possible to track and identify moving targets is to be presented. The device fuses the opto-electronic sensors, thermal sensors and the synthetic aperture radar data altogether, in order to provide proper target tracking and identification capabilities.
The Patroller programme is financed with the use of the Sagem’s own assets. The discussed tender, the aim of which is to acquire new UAV’s for the French Army, additionally involves Thales and Airbus Defence and Space companies as well.
Patroller UAVs are also offered for the Polish Army, within the scope of one of the technical modernization programmes pursued by the Ministry of Defence.