THE FRENCH ARMY is in negotiations with Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) to purchase its Hunter short-range reconnaissance unmanned air vehicle (UAV) for evaluation.

The French army has an immediate requirement for five short-range systems. The system could be deployed in Bosnia in support of French operations in the region.

Previously, French troops in the region, have been supported by, the CAC Systems Fox AT1 UAV. The Fox was used to provide real-time surveillance in the Bihac area during late 1993 and early 1994. One of the four UAVs deployed under the United Nations banner was lost to unknown causes.

The Fox UAVs were used to survey targets up to 28km (15nm) from the launch point, with an average mission duration of around 45min.

The French army expressed its interest in the Israeli system following the visit of a senior defence delegation to Israel in March 1994. The visit was also viewed as unofficially ending the French embargo on defence co-operation with Israel, which began in 1967.

The initial negotiations are for the purchase of one Hunter short-range UAV, with a possible follow-on order for up to a further four systems.

Source: Flight International