“First Three SMDM Fixed-Wing UAS Delivered To The French Navy” –Naval News

“The Aliaca maritime UAS is a high endurance versatile system allowing up to 3 hours missions over a 50 km (27 Nm) range, perfectly adapted to maritime missions with high gyro stabilized EO/IR payload performances and qualified to operate in severe environmental conditions. Airbus Defence and Space/ Survey COPTER image.”

Naval News reports first deliveries under the French Navy’s “Système de Mini Drones aériens embarqués pour la Marine” (On-board Mini Aerial Drone System for the Navy), or SMDM program intended to provide small, fixed wing, unmanned aircraft to support their Offshore Patrol Vessels. 

The DGA ordered 11 SMDMs at the end of 2020 to the SME Survey Copter, a subsidiary of Airbus Group, for an amount of 19.7 million euros, including procurement of systems and support services. Deliveries will be staggered until 2023…An SMDM is composed of two Aliaca UAVs from Survey Copter. The Aliaca is set to be deployed aboard the future offshore patrol vessels of the French Navy (both the POM and future Patrouilleur Oceanique) and surveillance frigates. Integration on the Mistral-class LHD is also considered.

These electric powered UAVs will fill essentially the same role as the Scan Eagles being used on the Bertholf class National Security Cutters (NSC). They are very nearly the same size. At first glance, at least, Scan Eagle appears more capable in every way.

Electric powered UAS are clean, quiet, and usually extremely reliable. The vessels that will be operating these UAS are all smaller than the 4,600 ton NSCs, the 1,300 ton POMs very much smaller.

It does sound like these will be Navy owned and operated, rather than operated by contractors, like the Coast Guard’s Scan Eagles.

Photos below were found in this French language report: “Marine nationale : une première capacité opérationnelle du SMDM espérée cet été”

Campagne d’essais en 2014 sur un PHM (© : MARINE NATIONALE)
© Mer et Marine https://www.meretmarine.com/fr/marine-nationale-une-premiere-capacite-operationnelle-du-smdm-esperee-cet-ete

3 thoughts on ““First Three SMDM Fixed-Wing UAS Delivered To The French Navy” –Naval News

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s