Aerospatiale Matra is using an Israeli long endurance unmanned air vehicle (UAV) to compete for a French army requirement for a medium altitude vehicle.

The Israel Aircraft Industries Heron UAV (above) was displayed by Aerospatiale Matra at the Paris air show as the Eagle without any hint that it was a modified version of the Israeli design.

Aerospatiale Matra is in competition with a version of the Predator offered jointly by its developer General Atomics and French electro-optics specialist Sagem.

The standard Heron is 8.5m (28ft)-long with a wing span of 16.6m. Power is provided by a Rotax 914 turbocharged engine. Maximum takeoff weight is 1,100kg (2,420lb) with an operational payload of 250kg. Endurance is up to 50h. Maximum operating altitude is 32,000ft (9,760m), but an advanced version, dubbed Eagle 2 by the Israelis, will be powered by a P&W Canada PT6 turboprop able to operate at altitudes of up to 45,000ft. Material distributed by the French company shows their version of Eagle with a 20m wingspan and a length of 11m.

The French army is already testing the smaller IAI Hunter UAV system, which includes two ground stations and four UAVs.

Source: Flight International