PARIS — The French Army and the procurement office have selected the Sagem Patroller for the tactical unmanned aerial vehicle over the Thales Watchkeeper
A contract for 14 units, comprising 10 operational aircraft and four for training, is worth some €300 million (US $324 million), with 10 years of maintenance.
Patroller, based on the German Stemme ES-15 civilian aircraft, flew from Toulouse, southwest France, in October and November 2014, showing its compliance with European air safety rules.
The Sagem UAV could be armed with laser-targeted rockets and anti-tank MMP medium-range missiles, website La Tribune reported.
In the evaluation, the Army liked the Patroller’s high quality visual capability, transmission and capability for a pilot to optional fly in the aircraft rather than operating as unmanned, Le Monde reported. The UAV can carry a one ton payload and fly for 14 hours, compared to the required eight hours, at a range of 150 km.