Northrop Grumman says it is resuming talks with Egypt on a proposed upgrade of the nation's ageing M324 Scarab tactical unmanned air vehicles.

Egyptian air force authorities used last month's Paris air show to renew discussions, says George Guerra, deputy integrated unmanned systems team leader at Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems. "They want a modernisation programme. They are looking to see what they can do to upgrade the M324."

The air force has been exploring an upgrade for the past three years, to include new engines and a replacement navigation suite.

Guerra says the talks include exploration of contracting arrangements. "We have been looking to see what type of contract we would convert. There are still support services that we provide to them. We still maintain support in Cairo to assist them."

The Scarab was originally built by Teledyne Ryan, with 56 air vehicles delivered to Egypt between 1984 and 1992. The rocket-launched UAV has a range of 1,400nm (2,590km).

Source: Flight International