Airbus Helicopters Drones for French Navy

April 16, 2020 (Google Translation) – The Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) notifies the order of a second aerial drone prototype of the marine aerial drone system (SDAM) to the companies Naval Group and Airbus Helicopters.

The SDAM, an on-board tactical drone, is intended for French Navy ships equipped with a flight deck.

Once operational, this “drone-helicopter” will be a real scout for the French frigates.

The SDAM program, managed by the DGA, is currently in the preparation phase. It aims to develop a drone, complementary to on-board helicopters, intended for French Navy ships with a flight deck. It will increase their operational efficiency by increasing their mastery of the tactical situation. Designed to carry two additional payloads, with an autonomy of 10 hours and a range of 185 km, it will be a real scout for spotting, identifying, classifying threats and abnormal behavior.

In 2017, the DGA notified a study contract to Airbus Helicopters and Naval Group with the objective of a sea test campaign on a multi-mission frigate in 2022. It will validate the automatic take-off and take-off capacity of this drone which will weigh between 700 and 800 kilos. The early order for the second SDAM demonstrator will allow a technical and operational experiment to be carried out from 2024, for the system to mature (move upmarket) for 18 months.

To carry out this contract, Naval Group and Airbus Helicopters are relying on a partnership with the SME Helicopters Guimbal to adapt its Cabri G2 two-seater light helicopter to military needs and the marine environment. This cooperation between companies of very different sizes is exemplary. This drone-helicopter will have to master automatic landing on small platforms of combat vessels, which will constitute a major advance on a global scale.

This order sustains 15 jobs for two years, as well as the expertise of Airbus Helicopters and its subcontractors, in particular Hélicoptères Guimbal.

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