The French DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement) has just awarded a contract for technology development in the field of rotary-wing drones to the Naval Group and Airbus Helicopters consortium. The contract covers de-risking studies ahead of construction of a future tactical helicopter drone demonstrator aboard warships. The demonstration project will lead to trials of the drone launch system, mission system and airborne vehicle, conducted from a French Navy vessel.
The purpose of the contract awarded by the DGA is to identify, deploy and test the technologies necessary for the integration of a tactical drone-system capacity within a heavily armed vessel. It forms part of the preparation of the SDAM (Navy Airborne Drone System), whose entry into service is foreseen for the middle of the next decade on new Intermediate-Size Frigates (FTIs) and other French Navy ships.
The study will help select the principal technologies for the SDAM and the identification of the technical risks necessary for initiating and realising the programme. The level of technological maturity sought is that of a demonstrator of the complete system in a representative environment.