Difficulty of operating in minefields of Afghanistan leads to precision requirement

Canadian unmanned air vehicle manufacturer MMIST is to develop a GPS-based precision recovery system for the Canadian army’s Sagem Sperwer unmanned air vehicle to reduce the aircraft’s parachute landing footprint to a maximum radius of 25m (80ft). The design will be derived from the precision guidance system for MMIST’s CQ-10A Snow Goose unmanned logistics air vehicle and offered by the companies as an upgrade to existing Sperwer operators.

The Canadian army expressed initial interest in a derivative of the Snow Goose GPS guidance and landing system after the service encountered problems trying to parachute-recover UAVs in minefield-infested terrain in Afghanistan.

Sagem executive vice-president Jean-Francis Coutris says the MMIST-led development is expected to provide “a major operational improvement” for the Sperwer. “Operating UAV systems from the middle of mined areas requires no-runway capability and very high accuracy landing, even in strong wind conditions.”

Defence Research & Development Canada and MMIST are jointly funding a C$1 million ($810,000) development phase to include detailed studies of air vehicle behaviour in the final 100ft of the Sperwer’s landing cycle over a variety of wind conditions. Canada’s Department of National Defence (DND) has proposed funding up to 80% of the proposed C$4 million cost of modifying and testing a single Sperwer air vehicle during a second Defense Security phase, with MMIST and Sagem to provide the remaining funds.

Canada is preparing to redeploy its Sperwer UAVs to Afghanistan in early 2006 and the DND is exploring the possibility of buying surplus systems from Denmark as a low-cost option to increase the size of its fleet.

  •  Sagem displayed a Sperwer air vehicle armed with Rafael’s Spike- LR anti-tank missile during the Paris air show. Israeli sources say the 4km (2.2nm)-range weapon will undergo its first test firing from the UAV next year, with development work to establish its launch sequence and target optimisation from a ground control station.


Source: Flight International