(Paris, November 22, 2006) -- The French defense procurement agency (DGA) has awarded Sagem Defense Securite (SAFRAN Group) a contract to conduct a joint VTOL* UAV (DVI) study. It covers the definition study of a VTOL UAV that meets joint Army and Navy needs.
The challenge of the DVI study - which lays the base for future UAV programs - lies in defining a UAV capable of carrying out a wide range of missions in diverse theaters, from takeoff in mountainous terrain and in hot weather to landing on a frigate in extremely difficult aerological and maritime conditions.
The solution being studied by Sagem Defense Securite is based on Bell Helicopter's Eagle Eye convertible UAV. It follows on a teaming agreement signed in June 2004 between the two companies to offer European armed forces a new generation of VTOL UAVs.
The DVI study combines Sagem Defense Securite's know-how in designing UAV systems with a world-class helicopter manufacturer's expertise. It calls on a wide gamut of skills, ranging from the electronic mission system to propulsion, which must provide the required power reserve for use in the specified conditions.
As a technological breakthrough, the Eagle Eye tilt rotor UAV is already selected by the US Coast Guard for the largest maritime protection program in the world: Deepwater. A distinguishing feature of the UAV is its wide range of use. It is well adapted to protecting forces faced with traditional or asymmetric threats, maritime surveillance and public service missions. Thanks to its speed (twice that of conventional helicopters UAVs) the Eagle Eye offers increased efficiency due to its ability to be quickly deployed in areas of interest and span vast swaths of sea and land.
For the design study of joint tactical VTOL UAVs, the mission electronics of the project of Sagem Defense Securite (i.e. payload, ground station, data links) will be designed on a common base with that of the tactical Sperwer UAV developed and produced by Sagem Defense Securite for five countries' armed forces: Canada, Greece, the Netherlands, Sweden and France.
As a European leader in tactical UAV systems, Sagem Defense Securite possesses the technology necessary for the development and production of UAV systems: inertial navigation and flight control, the image chain, high-resolution gyrostabilized optronic sensors, mission computers, systems integration (C4ISR and mounted combat systems) and the means to prepare, carry out and debrief missions.
*VTOL : Vertical Take Off and Landing