The PatrollerTM surveillance drone developed by Sagem (Safran group) has successfully completed its third series of test flights (1). The flights were carried out from April 22 to 30, 2010, at the Cergy-Pontoise airfield in the greater Paris area, near Sagem's R&D center in Eragny, where the drone is being developed.
In addition to demonstrating the trouble-free operation of the entire system, this latest series of test flights also validated the performance of the aircraft's triplex avionics and its imaging system, comprising a Sagem Euroflir gyrostabilized optronics pod, remotely-operated from the ground, and a Ku-band link. For the first time, the Patroller drone was fitted with external tanks on its outboard hard points.
PatrollerTM is a 1-ton class medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) drone system, based on the S15 special-mission aircraft manufactured by the German company Stemme, and certified by EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency). These tests were carried out with a pilot in the aircraft, taking advantage of the drone's ability to be operated in manned mode, which considerably facilitates development flights by allowing them to be carried out in unrestricted airspace.
Based on the excellent results of these tests, the PatrollerTM drone will shortly be moved to the Istres air base in southwest France, in June, for a new series of flight tests, this time in drone mode without a pilot, in restricted airspace. The Patroller drone could start to perform demonstration flights and operational trials as early as this summer. Sagem will be able to deliver the first fully operational Patroller system in 12 to 18 months.
PatrollerTM draws on the technologies developed in France by Sagem for its Sperwer tactical drone system, as well as this system's long deployment experience in Afghanistan.
PatrollerTM meets virtually all French requirements for long-endurance drones, at a reasonable cost. It is also designed to support a high-speed satellite link, plus pod-mounted payloads (sensors, arms, etc.) for missions of 20 to 30 hours at a maximum altitude of 25,000 ft.
Source: Patroller™ long-endurance surveillance drone successfully completes third series of test flights
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