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France obtains micro UAVs

Mon, 03/22/2010 - 6:43am
Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor

Hand launching the WASP III from a beachThe French Special Forces Command is now equipped with an unspecified number of Skylark 1 and Wasp Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The French Armament Procurement Agency (Direction générale de l'armement, DGA) made the handoff on March 8th after awarding the contract for said UAVs to Israel’s Elbit Systems on 18 October 2009 and to AeroVironment on 4 November 2009.

Designed for recon/surveillance missions, the Wasp and Skylark are hand-launched UAVs, among the smallest of their type in the world. While the Skylark is employed by the Israeli Defense Forces (among other militaries), the Wasp has played a pivotal role in the US Armed Forces. The newest iteration, the Wasp III has a wingspan of 72 cm and a weight of 430 grams. It has a surveillance range of 5 km, endurance of 45 minutes, and speed of 40-65 km/h (25-40 mph). Like the Skylark, the Wasp can be autonomously piloted through GPS navigation.

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