Drones news

Paris picks Patroller for UAV requirement

Paris picks Patroller for UAV requirement
Paris picks Patroller for UAV requirement. France appears to have selected
<p><strong>France appears to have selected Sagem&#39;s Patroller for its army&rsquo;s tactical unmanned air vehicle requirement, defeating the rival Thales Watchkeeper system.</strong></p> <p>If the deal goes ahead, Paris will be the first customer for the Patroller, under a reported &euro;300 million ($324 million) contract, according to French news outlet&nbsp;<em>Air &amp; Cosmos</em>.</p> <p>In June, Boulogne-Billancourt, France-headquartered Sagem told<em>Flightglobal</em>&nbsp;it was confident that its home country would be the initial operator of the Patroller, which has struggled to secure a launch customer. Its predecessor, the Sperwer, which the Patroller will now replace, was exported several times before it was adopted by the French army.</p> <p>Reports suggest the contract is for 14 aircraft to be delivered by 2019, although both Sagem and France&#39;s DGA procurement agency decline to comment.</p> <p><img alt="Asset Image" src="https://www.flightglobal.com/assets/getasset.aspx?itemid=61102" style="margin:0px" /></p> <p>Sagem</p> <p>Thales has long attempted to sell the Elbit Systems Hermes 450-derived Watchkeeper to France, but its sole operator remains the British Army. The UAV was developed for the UK programme, but has seen a number of challenges resulting in late service entry and a missed deployment to Afghanistan.</p> <p>The manufacturer is still pitching it for a Polish tactical UAV requirement, however, where it is teamed with local manufacturer WB Electronics.&nbsp;That tender is currently the only&nbsp;publicly-known competition being contested by Watchkeeper.</p> <p>A joint Textron Systems/Airbus Defence &amp; Space bid using a modified Shadow M2 was earlier eliminated from the French contest.</p>