Paris | Sagem (Safran group) has just signed a contract with SIMMAD*, on behalf of the French Ministry of Defense, to provide in-service maintenance for the Sperwer SDTI tactical drone systems deployed by the French army.
The contract covers all maintenance, repair and technical support services for systems in service with the army until 2014.
It also includes an order with Robonic Oy, the Finnish subsidiary of Sagem, for two Kontio towed pneumatic catapult systems (type MC2555LLR). Lighter and smaller than the first-generation catapults, these units will reduce the system’s footprint, decrease operating costs, facilitate catapult operations, and increase the payload to extend the drone’s endurance.
In addition to the new catapults, Sagem has made other upgrades to improve the system’s capabilities and meet the army’s evolving needs: integration of NATO standard 4609 interoperability modems in the ground stations, higher-performance aircraft, and the delivery of portable remote video terminals (RVT) to improve image reception.
Sagem’s Dijon and Poitiers plants will produce the optronics modules for this contract, while the company’s Montluçon plant will work on the ground segment and the aircraft.
Sperwer drones have been deployed in Afghanistan since 2003 to support NATO’s air-land forces. In the French army, they are operated by the 61st Artillery Regiment, which has been deployed in Afghanistan since November 28.
Sagem has produced 25 complete Sperwer tactical drone systems to date, including 140 aircraft.