New-look Sperwer B unveiled

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By Peter La Franchi in Paris

Sagem is developing a satellite communications capability for its Sperwer B tactical unmanned air vehicle and is preparing to integrate a Selex Picosar radar to support more complex battlefield operations.

A new infrared/electro-optical sensor able to provide visual imagery of 5cm (2in) resolution from 9,000ft (2,750m) is also in development to improve the UAV’s ability to monitor individual human actions in operations less than war.

The Picosar miniature synthetic-aperture radar would be in a fixed mount in the Sperwer B forward fuselage below the fixed forward canard and angled to allow for slant observation. Sagem says it will test fly the miniature radar aboard its manned testbed aircraft ahead of a proposed initial integration. Sperwer B could simultaneously carry and operate both sensor types, Sagem says, allowing for cross cueing.

Work is also under way on integrating a new communications intelligence-gathering system into the UAV, with this to use a slimline conformal antenna mounted on the forward fuselage.

The satcom datalink will see a small transmit and receive dish mounted on the forward upper fuselage, covered by a conformal radome. The link will support data rates of several hundred bytes per second, and is seen as being particularly suited to mountainous terrain.

Sagem says the new capabilities have been extensively influenced by Canadian operational experiences with Sperwer A in Afghanistan.