Indian Army Shows Interest On their bi-annual Pre-Paris Air Show Press Tour, Thales detailed their unmanned capabilities to MONS.
The SPY’RANGER unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), currently in trials with the French Army, has been proposed to the Indian Army, who could take up to 200 systems. The UAV has been demoed in New Delhi three months ago.
On 21 December 2016, the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA; the French procurement agency) awarded Thales a contract for 35 System of Mini-Drones for Reconnaissance (SMDR), consisting of three air vehicles each. The SMDR is intended to equip the forces, and in particular to replace the Front Line Reconnaissance Drone (DRAC) system in service with the French Army since 2008. The first systems will be delivered by 2019 and will be supported for 10 years. According to Thales, an optional 70 mini-UAS will be made available from 2018 and starting in the same year, Thales could provide French forces up to 210 mini reconnaissance UAVs.
An operational system consists of three SPY’RANGER mini surveillance and reconnaissance UAV equipped with a high-definition day/night gyrostabilised multi-sensor optronic payload, providing detection, recognition, identification performance, a ground control station (based on Linux), and the associated technical support.
With a wingspan of nearly 3.80m and a weight of 14.5kg, the new UAV has an endurance of the order of 2.5 hours. The system can be deployed in 12 minutes by two operators (installation of the launcher, assembly of the drone, initialisation of the ground station and testing before takeoff) and be carried in two backpacks.
Thanks to its data link from the ELSA technology study (design and demonstration of a universal data link for autonomous air-land systems), the drone can transmit high-resolution video streams in real time, reliably and securely at distances of up to 30km from the ground station. According to Thales, the datalink (Thales’ μ-TMA) allows to transmit HD video and IR, two flows at the same time. To optimise flip management Thales used SMART FLIP, which allows efficient thru life support.
Thales has developed the SPY’RANGER in partnership with two French SMEs: Aviation Design (air vehicle) and Merio (optronic ball aka gimbal, which the company developed up to prototype delivery). (Photo: DPM)