France commissions stratobus platform study – UV – Unmanned Vehicles
Thales Alenia Space and Thales have signed a contract with the French defence procurement agency, DGA, to carry out a concept study for the use of Stratobus type platforms for French Army ISR applications.
The aim of the contract is to study the benefits of continuous stratospheric platforms to improve and expand France’s defence capabilities.
Together, the companies will undertake an operational concept study for an ISR mission including exercises simulating its use in theatres of operation; and develop a full-scale demonstrator concept, capable of flying in the stratosphere to demonstrate the in-flight performance of an ISR mission of this type.
Stratobus platforms offer the ability to significantly increase the area monitored by a single platform, and eliminate terrain masking; and with their ability to loiter over an area for longer periods they can improve resilience in relation to current naval, airborne, ground and space solutions.
Jean-Philippe Chessel, director of the Stratobus product line, said: ‘The aim of this contract is to assess the relevance of Stratobus type continuous stratospheric solutions to meet defence needs, and also marks a major step forward in the definition of a possible operational solution in conjunction with users.
‘It will enable us to prepare the foundations for the development of a complete solution, including high-reliability autonomous avionics, as well as all control aspects. We are aiming to carry out a flight demonstration by the end of 2023.’