PARIS, May 18 (UPI) -- Production of 14 Patroller optionally piloted aircraft for the French Army is set to begin following the signing of a production contract.
Sagem, maker of the Patroller, said the agreement with the French defense procurement agency DGA calls for the delivery of two operational Patroller systems of five aircraft each, two ground stations for monitoring and control of the UAVs, and related communications equipment.
Four additional aircraft and two ground stations are also to be produced for training.
The Patroller, produced in partnership with Germany's Ecarys (Stemme) will replace the interim tactical UAV systems in operation with the French Army since 2004, the government agency said.
The Patrollers will simultaneously carry two payloads: initially, optical infrared and laser and radar, with an electronic warfare package eventually replacing the radar payload.
Patroller is a medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle.