Flight tests of technology for a potential forest fire-detecting unmanned air vehicle will begin in the next 10 weeks from a French air force base at Salon-de-Provence, southern France.

Infrared and electro-optical sensors for the role will be contained in equipment pods on board a manned powered glider, the Stemme S10-VT.

The flight tests, part of French aerospace research agency Onera’s Busard project, will be carried out in co-operation with electronics specialist Sagem and French civil security authorities.

“Two years ago we decided to launch a five-year programme of work on new payload concepts for UAVs. We will conduct research studies on radar, optronic, electronic warfare and datalink payloads,” says Pierre Enert, senior research scientist at Onera’s electromagnetics department.

The fire-detection flights will be followed by electro-optical and radar sensor-fed sense-and-avoid system tests in the fourth quarter of this year.

Electronic-warfare demonstrations will be conducted in the second quarter of 2006 with the aim of detecting an emitter to a high level of accuracy.


Source: Flight International