Thales Group unveils Spy'Ranger mini-drone

By Ryan Maass   |   Updated Nov. 18, 2015 at 10:06 AM
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PARIS, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- Thales Group formally introduced its latest surveillance and reconnaissance mini-drone, the Spy'Ranger, on Wednesday.

The company says the new tactical unmanned aerial vehicle is a response to an increase in battlefield anti-drone measures, and the need to ensure tactical reconnaissance vehicles have high security and survivability capabilities.

"Surveillance and reconnaissance drones provide a tactical advantage that hasn't been seen since the deployment of radars by the Allies during the Second World War," Thales Optronics Solutions Vice President Jean-Pascal Arrou-Vignod said in a statement. "This is why anti-drone countermeasures are a growing threat that make more robust drone platforms a priority."

Spy'Ranger was designed in collaboration by a team of European UAV developers from both Thales and French aerospace SME, Aviation Design. The design follows a decade of experimentation on micro and mini UAV systems used by the French armed forces, and is fitted to build on endurance.

The UAV was developed with an electric-powered airframe, command-and-control software, and a tactical datalink. It also comes with an advanced gimbal used to optimize frontline and range, enabling the craft to maintain its camera and sensor equipment on its target even if the aircraft is maneuvering past the limits of its airframe. Most UAVs are unable to follow their targets while performing sudden or violent movements.

Spy'Ranger is designed to be deployed with Spy'C automatic command-and-control software already in use by French land forces, and is capable of operating in extreme environments. The UAV is interoperable with France's multi-sensor image interpetation and dissemination system to enhance intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance operations.

"Spy'Ranger has been designed from first principles to remain combat effective in all tactical scenarios. It once again provides armed forces and security forces with an insurmountable tactical advantage, the ability to see the enemy wherever they are, at all times, no matter what they do to try to neutralize it," Arrou-Vignod added.

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