Warplanes: May 13, 2002


Dassault and Sagem plan to jointly develop two new unmanned drones for the export market. They face touch competition from the combat-proven Israeli drones and the ultra-sophisticated US-built designs. Sagem has built drones for years and has sold 100 of them to four European countries, and Dassault is developing the stealthy Petit Duc technology demonstrator. In the new designs, Dassault will concentrate on engines, stealth, and airframes while Sagem concentrates on the sensor payloads. One of the new designs will be a medium-altitude long-endurance model similar to Predator. It should begin flying late this year or early in 2003. This design is an evolution of the Sager Sperwer design that has already conducted test flights. The other new design is a stealthy drone designed for both recon and attack missions. The airframe is a high speed stealthy design scaled up from Petit Duc. The Moyen Duc could be up to a ton in size and should be flying by 2004. It will use the sensors Sagem had intended for its own deep-penetration drone.--Stephen V Cole


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