Thales’ latest-generation Spy’Ranger mini-Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) has been chosen by the French defence procurement agency, DGA, to equip the French forces. Up to 70 mini-UAV reconnaissance systems (SMDR) will be made available from 2018. Each system consists of three fixed-wing mini-UAVs, a ground segment and associated technical support.
Spy’Ranger is described by Thales as the new ‘eye in the sky’ for the combined arms tactical group, able to be operated in a standalone mode or connected to a C4I system. It will provide troops on the ground with a decisive tactical advantage by offering the capacity to observe day or night, over extended periods at a distance of up to 30km. Spy'Ranger can also be used in an airborne joint forward observer role.
Developed by Thales in collaboration with several French SMEs, Spy'Ranger offers a number of state-of-the-art technologies.
Transportable in a backpack, Spy’Ranger offers a top speed of 90km/h and is designed to be deployed in less than 12 minutes. It can perform observation missions over a period of 2 hours 30 minutes, covering a range of 30km — claimed to be a much larger surveillance area than those covered by systems currently in service. Thales says that the gyrostabilized multi-sensor optronic payload has the highest resolution in the world for this range of platform, facilitating the positive identification of zones or objects.
The secure, high-speed tactical data link allows transmission of high-definition image streams. A mobile, digital support management system based on Thales’s Smartfleet solution enables efficient management of Through-Life Support.