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Thales wins VTOL UAV system study

05 February 2007

The French defence procurement agency (DGA) has selected Thales to conduct a further study for an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) system. The objective of this study programme is to define a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) UAV system to meet the tactical requirements of France's Land Force General Staff (EMAT) and Naval High Command (EMM).

Thales teams will work closely with Army and Navy staff to analyse their operational requirements in preparation for functional definition of the system architecture. The study will also investigate commonalities and opportunities for resource sharing between the two forces and will lay the foundations for the future SDT* tactical UAV system programme and SDAM** naval UAV system programme.

Thales has proposed Boeing's Unmanned Little Bird VTOL UAV as the platform for the study and subsequent demonstration phase, which will include deck-landing trials. The Unmanned Little Bird (ULB) is the remotely operated version of the MD 530F civilian helicopter and its military variant, the A/MH-6M Little Bird. The ULB has already logged several hundred hours of flight tests and is considered a benchmark in the unmanned rotorcraft market.

This programme consolidates Thales's position as the European leader in UAV-based surveillance systems and is part of Thales's comprehensive capability-based response to the UAV-based surveillance requirements of French and European forces.

About Thales
Thales is a leading international electronics and systems group, serving defence, aerospace and security markets worldwide, supported by a comprehensive services offering. The group's civil and military businesses develop in parallel to serve a single objective: the security of people, property and nations. Leveraging a global network of high-level researchers, Thales offers a capability unmatched in Europe to develop and deploy critical information systems. Thales employs 60,000 people in 50 countries and generated revenues of € 10.3 billion in 2005, with a record order book of over € 20 billion.

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