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French Army receives 35 DRAC UAVs from EADS

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The Tactical UAV DRAC / Tracker. An EADS Photo

PARIS (BNS): The French Army has received 35 fully-upgraded DRAC unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) from European defence firm EADS.

The aircraft will aid the ground troops deployed in mountainous and other hostile terrains.

The UAVs were delivered to the French defence ministry last month following a series of ground-based and in-flight operational tests, EADS said.

This was the second batch of the aircraft supplied to the French Army. The first batch of 25 such drones were delivered to it in July, 2008.

DARC (Drone de Renseignement Au Contact) is designed for frontline army troops to improve their intelligence and reconnaissance capabilities. The drone is based on the TRACKER system which is a mini-UAV developed by EADS in partnership with French SME SurveyCopter.

Each DRAC system consists of two UAVs equipped with payloads, a compact ground station and an automatic tracking antenna. It can be packed into two personal rucksacks, thus allowing entirely autonomous missions.

The drone with long-range capabilities can operate in day and night and all-weather conditions for up to 90 minutes and at distances of more than 10 km from its user.

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