Warplanes: October 12, 2003


Canada is buying Sperwer UAVs from the French firm Sagem. The Sperwer is a 575 pound aircraft that is launched via a rocket from a truck, can stay in the air for four hours using a 70 horsepower engine, and lands using a parachute and airbags. A hundred pound payload is carried, which is usually either a day/night video cam, or a FLIR (a heat sensing radar that can see through clouds). Cruising speed is 180 kilometers an hour, but max range from the control vehicle is 90 kilometers (because a line-of-sight data link is used.) But that's still over 6,000 square kilometers. Canadian forces plan to use the UAV on peacekeeping missions, to give troops the ability to keep an eye on a much larger area than they can currently cover with ground patrols.


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