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Author Topic: France Shipping Long-Endurance UAV to Afghanistan  (Read 3190 times)

Offline tigershark

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France Shipping Long-Endurance UAV to Afghanistan
« on: January 24, 2009, 05:52:49 PM »
France Shipping Long-Endurance UAV to Afghanistan
By pierre tran
Published: 23 Jan 12:03 EST (17:03 GMT)

Paris - The French military has begun sending the SIDM interim medium-altitude, long-endurance drone from EADS to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, and is expected to fly the aircraft about the middle of February, industry and military officials said.

Deployment of the SIDM UAV has been long-awaited, as it provides surveillance capabilities France lacks, especially since more troops have been sent to Afghanistan.
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"Everything is in containers, ready to go; some are already over there. The aircraft should be operational around mid-February," a French officer said. Some of the personnel are at the base already.

The SIDM will deliver a new surveillance capability to the French Air Force, which has, up to now, operated tactical UAVs with an endurance of up to four hours. The new UAV can remain aloft for 20 hours.

Nicolas Chamussy, EADS head of mission air systems, said the SIDM delivered to the Air Force consists of three air vehicles and the ground segment. The drone is based on the Israeli Eagle 1 UAV, and carries electro/optronics, laser designator and radar with ground moving target indicator in the mission payload.

The UAV can fly up to 20 hours at 25,000 feet and has line of sight and satellite beyond-line-of-sight communications.

The Air Force has registered some 200 flight hours on the SIDM to train its personnel, Chamussy said.

EADS delivered the SIDM years late and booked about 200 million euros ($260 million) in provisions.

EADS will have employees at the base to help support operations, but they will not fly the aircraft. Flying the SIDM in Afghanistan is vital to evaluate possible further purchases of surveillance UAVs.



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