The French Direction Générale pour l’Armement (DGA) ordered a fourth MALE (medium altitude, long endurance) Reaper unmanned aircraft system. The 2014-19 Military Planning Act (LPM) provides that the air force will have by 2019 four complete systems, each comprising three unmanned aircraft. The order of this fourth system of Reaper drones thus allows the ministry to meet the objectives of this Act. Delivery will take place in 2019.
The second system has been approved by the DGA. Two drones were delivered on December 31 in Niamey. The third drone will soon arrive at Cognac airbase, where it will be used in particular for the training of personnel of the 1/33 Belfort squadron which operates France’s MALE drones.
On arrival, the French Air Force and the DGA will conduct a test campaign to validate the Reaper system’s air-transportability onboard French transport aircraft, mainly the A400M, as well as technical conditions for its operation in the electromagnetic environment of Cognac airbase, and more generally the territory of metropolitan France.