The French defence procurement agency DGA has formalised the production contract with Safran for the Patroller tactical UAV for the French Army, known in French as the Système de Drones Tactiques (SDT).
The contract calls for the delivery of two operational systems for the French Army, each comprising five Patroller optionally-piloted aircraft, two ground stations and related communications equipment. It also includes the acquisition of four air vehicles and two ground stations for training, in France, and the acquisition of in-service support. In addition, it covers operational maintenance for a period of 12 years.
The equipment will replace the interim tactical UAV systems (SDTI), in operation since 2004 with the 61st artillery regiment stationed in Chaumont. The SDT programme meets the operational needs of the Army by providing enhanced endurance, image quality and logistics footprint, as well as a more effective search capability obtained by a multi-sensor approach.
The SDT will be able to simultaneously carry two payloads — initially, optical/infrared/laser and radar, with an electronic warfare package replacing the radar at some future point.
Safran will be supported by the "Patroller Cluster," a grouping of mainly French high technology SMEs, which will contribute key technological building blocks for the airframe and the mission chain. The aircraft is supplied in partnership with German motor-glider specialist Ecarys (Stemme).