The French government procurement agency for the French army, Direction générale de l’armement (DGA) has placed an order with Sagem (Safran Group) for five Sperwer Mk II tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. The order is in the form of a rolling delivery contract that is marked to start towards the end of 2012 summer.
The five new Sperwer Mk II tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicles will complement the already existing Sperwer UAV versions. These hi-tech drones are designed to provide five hours of endurance for a maximum altitude beyond 16,000 ft and a 200-km range, and can be catapult-launched from almost near the war zone. Sagem claims that the remote-controlled Sperwer (‘Sparrowhawk') will enhance the superiority of military tactics of the French Army.
As the Sperwer UAVs are readily-deployable with its forward operating capability, it is far more advanced than helicopters and traditional army aircraft. A standard air base setting is not required by these UAVs.
Other features of the Sperwer Mk II tactical UAVs:
- Travels at a speed of 90 knots
- Can transport 50 kg payload
- Components of the Sperwer system such as the catapult, the UAV, the ground control station and the ground data terminal can be easily transported by a C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft or by road.
Functions of the Sperwer UAVs:
- Target acquisition
- Support for ground troops
Another contract for Sagem has also been formulated to work on upgrading all the in-service Sperwers. GPS technology, which is used in the Dassault Rafale multirole fighters, will be added to the Sperwers.