WASHINGTON, May 3 (UPI) -- France has received U.S. State Department approval for the purchase of additional Hellfire missiles through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program.
The new French request is specifically for an additional 200 Lockheed Martin AGM-114K1A Hellfire missiles, Hellfire missile conversion, blast fragmentation sleeves and installation kits, containers, and transportation.
The total estimated cost of the deal is $30 million.
The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which manages the FMS program, said in its notification to Congress that the additional missiles will meet France's operational requirements for a precision guided tactical missile for its Tigre Attack Helicopter.
"The purchase will directly support French forces actively engaged in operations in Mali and Northern Africa, providing them the capability to successfully engage targets with minimal collateral damage.
The new missiles and equipment requested would be added to an earlier $42 million deal for 112 AGM-114K1A Hellfire missiles, 102 AGM-114N1A Hellfire missiles, 50 ATM-114Q1A Hellfire training missiles, plus other equipment. Some of the equipment has already been delivered to France.
NEW ORLEANS, May 3 (UPI) -- A new electro-optical/infrared gimbal sensor payload for Puma AE unmanned aircraft has been announced by AeroVironment Inc.
"The Mantis i45 represents a dramatic leap in small UAS image resolution and approaches capabilities inherent in platforms many times the size and cost of Puma AE," Kirk Flittie, vice president and general manager of AeroVironment's Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment said at the Unmanned Vehicle Systems International XPONENTIAL 2016 conference and trade show in Louisiana. "This enhanced capability enables commercial and military users to see more and farther, with greater detail, than ever before, make better decisions and perform their missions with greater certainty.
"The AeroVironment Mantis i45 represents a significant increase in performance for Puma AE intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions."
Aerovironment said the Mantis i45 enables more accurate identification of targets from greater distances. Higher resolution imagery also aids in target analysis.
The gimbal payload features include an advanced suite of sensors, including ultra-high-resolution EO and IR imagers, dual-color cameras, improved IR imagery, a new low-light camera; a 50-times zoom in EO; optional onboard storage of high definition video and high-resolution stills.
"With its increased capability, we worked to ensure the high reliability that our customers expect from the i45," Flittie said, "and this design meets more rigorous standards than any previous Puma AE payload."