In the event of an order placed by Egypt for the French Patroller drone, the latter is highly likely to be assembled to Egyptian specifications by the Aircraft Factory arm of the Arab Organisation for Industrialisation (a.k.a. AOI).
Eric H. Biass
The commercial and industrial co-operation agreement signed with AOI also includes system support and both operational and maintenance training in Egypt (through its earlier Spwerwer programme, Sagem has trained over 400 pilots in France and abroad, where the drone was also exported)
With a typical flight time of 20 hours, the Patroller is labelled as a long endurance drone. It is based on the Stemme 15 motorglider adapted by Ecarys and is thus available as a full-drone and as an “optionally inhabited” aircraft, the latter mode for use in non restricted areas in which a pilot would immediately be able to override command from the ground should the need arise.
The Patroller has come a long way since its inception, and is now offered with a variety of options. One of the most significant one come in the form of a newly developed 140hp heavy fuel engine from Danielson that could eventually replace the current 115hp Rotax 914F. The Patroller can be fitted with a variety of gimballed sensors but has already been tested and used with Sagem’s own Euroflir 350 and 410 belly-mounted turrets (the latter offering high definition imagery). At the last Paris Air Show, the drone mock-up sported a podded Selex Picosar radar under its port wing and an electronic warfare pod under the starboard wing. It could also carry a Thales I-Master as an alternative to the Picosar. In a pure recce mission configuration, the aircraft can see its range extended by five hours by fitting an additional fuel tank under a wing in lieu of one of the sensor pods, and by 10 hours if both wings are allowed to carry extra fuel.
A typical system would include a ground station and two to three aircraft. There currently are two aircraft flying and an airworthy heavy-fuel engined type is targeted for 2020.
The Patroller is currently competing for a French requirement demanding a so-called tactical drone which has already attracted the attention of Thales with the Watchkeeper and of Airbus with the Artemis. The latter has however dropped out of the competition following disagreements between Airbus and Textron (actual producer of the aircraft under the Shadow M2 denomination) regarding the electronic systems.