Procurement: French Commandos Fly Skylark

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March 29,2008: French special operations (commando) forces have joined Canada and Australia in buying the Israeli Skylark UAV systems (three ten pound UAVs, plus one set of ground control equipment). The Skylark, like most micro-UAVs, is a battery powered plastic aircraft. It can stay up for 90 minutes per flight and can operate up to ten kilometers from the base station (radio gear and a laptop computer). The UAV can be equipped with night vision video equipment, or a color day camera. The Israelis pioneered the development of UAVs that worked (the U.S. spent a lot more money on UAVs, never quite getting it right, before buying Israeli systems and getting on the right track.) Skylark is used by the Israeli army and has a good track record.

The United States has over a thousand micro-UAVs in Iraq and Afghanistan. French troops apparently saw the U.S. and Israeli micro-UAVs in action in Afghanistan. Ten different firms responded to the French call for bids. The size of the sale was not revealed, but probably involves at least a few dozen of the ten pound UAVs, and several million dollars (to include training and support.)

 


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