Two Israeli companies – Aeronautics Defense Systems and BlueBird – are among the bidders eyeing a French defence ministry requirement to acquire 35 mini unmanned air systems.

France is now conducting an initial pre-qualification process, which will be followed soon by a request for information. Its armed forces have "special operational requirements" for the mini UAS, according to Israeli defence sources.

The sources said that Aeronautics will compete with its Orbiter-2 mini UAS, while BlueBird will probably offer its SpyLite mini UAS.

Aeronautics says its Orbiter 2B design can be activated from within a moving vehicle to allow for the continuous tracking of moving targets.

BlueBird's SpyLite has a 3-4h endurance, a maximum control range of 43nm (80km) and has been in service since 2006.

Israeli sources suggest that a future contract with the French defence ministry will include an option for another batch of at least 35 more mini UAS.