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France orders more reconnaissance drones

April 11, 2011 at 10:47 AM   |   Comments

PARIS, April 11 (UPI) -- The French military's procurement agency, DGA, has ordered additional DRAC reconnaissance mini-drones from Cassidian of France for delivery by 2013.

The DRAC system is equipped with cameras in the visible or infra-red spectrum, with a datalink to a compact ground station equipped with automatic tracking via a compact antenna.

Generally launched by hand, DRAC drones can stay in the air for up to 90 minutes, and over distances of up to 10 kilometers, by day and night, and transmit the data and imagery they collect in real time.

Sixty DRAC systems have so far been delivered to the French army, which has deployed them in Afghanistan.

"We are very proud to have won this new order …," said Nicolas Chamussy, senior vice president of Cassidian Air Systems and head of Unmanned Aerial Systems. "This contract is a demonstration of the recognized reliability and qualities of the DRAC system in service with operational army units in Afghanistan."

The short-range DRAC UAV system has been developed for the French army by Cassidian Air Systems, in partnership with SurveyCopter of France, as was the Tracker system from which it is derived.

Each DRAC system consists of two UAVs equipped with payloads, a compact ground station and an automatic tracking antenna. It can be packed into two personal rucksacks, thus allowing entirely autonomous missions.

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