Sagem hopes the first customer for its Patroller unmanned air vehicle will be its domestic military, after predecessor system Sperwer was exported several times before it was acquired by the French army.
Patroller is being pitched to France for its Système de drone tactique programme, for which all of the three contenders are undergoing or planning flight demonstrations of their systems in the coming weeks. Sagem believes it will be the first sale for its UAV.
The other offerings are the Thales WK450 Watchkeeper and Airbus/Textron Systems Shadow M2.
“For Sperwer, France was the fourth customer,” says Frédéric Mazzanti, vice-president of Sagem’s optronics and defence division. “We hope that this time the French will be the first…. We have a very strong team for this.”
Sagem has teamed with Ecarys/Stemme, which provides the aircraft, while Selex ES provides the imaging radar and avionics equipment and Patroller also carries the Euroflir 410 optronics system developed by Sagem.
Mazzanti claims that the multi-intelligence capability of Patroller gives it a competitive edge, as well as its ability to transmit multiple types of sensor information simultaneously.
“We are able – and will demonstrate this in July to the French army – to broadcast all the data to the ground at the same time,” Mazzanti says, adding that tests of the SDT will take place at Istres air base in France.
Depending on the configuration, eight to 11 sensors can be incorporated into one gimbal on Patroller, and it benefits from a wide-range radar and a narrow forward-looking infrared sensor.
Meanwhile, Sagem has also been awarded a contract by the French defence procurement agency to upgrade the Euroflir 350 optronics systems on two French Airbus Helicopters aircraft – the army’s AS532 Cougar and the special and conventional forces EC725 Caracal.
The gyrostabilised system will incorporate a new Matis infrared imager with continuous zoom function, an eye-safe laser rangefinder and a laser pointer, according to the company, as well as the Euroflir 350, which includes a full HD colour video camera with continuous zoom.