French drone put to the test

Dec. 5, 2011 at 8:30 AM

PARIS, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- The Patroller, a medium-altitude, long-endurance drone being developed by Sagem of France has successfully completed a series of flight tests.

Sagem said the tests included qualification of the aircraft's in-flight performance, including automated landings at a steep glide slope; integration of a new data link for taxiing and a new, higher-performance imaging chain for target identification; and qualification of new flight control functions.

The aircraft's improved flight safety resulted in French government authorization for the Patroller to fly over densely populated zones in controlled airspace, the company said.

During the tests in September and October, the MALE aircraft was also operated over the Mediterranean Sea to test maritime and coastal surveillance scenarios.

Sagem said it expects to deliver a complete, fully operational Patroller system in 12-18 months.

The aircraft, which capitalizes on technologies developed by Sagem for its Sperwer Mk II tactical drone, features a modular design for carrying different pod-mounted payloads. It has a flight endurance of as much as 30 hours at a maximum altitude of 25,000 feet.

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