On 25 January 2010, EADS Defence & Security delivered 35 specially modified new unmanned air vehicle (UAV) DRAC systems to the French Army to enhance its capabilities in mountainous terrain.
This delivery took place at the end of a series of ground-based and in-flight verification operations launched in November 2009 and carried out together with the French defence procurement agency DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement). The new batch follows a first batch of 25 DRAC systems delivered to the Ministry of Defence in July 2008.
The systems delivered this year will contribute to the safety of French troops deployed in very hostile theatres of operation and will improve the efficiency of their missions.
As far as its design is concerned, the DRAC system combines highly advanced technology with flexibility in its implementation and use, providing the forces with enhanced military capabilities in its function as a short-range, cost-efficient drone adapted to the requirements of modern armies.
DRAC is based on the Tracker system developed by EADS in collaboration with the French SME SurveyCopter in compliance with extremely strict specifications laid down by the French customer. SurveyCopter is supplying the aerial vehicle and the daytime and night-time cameras. EADS, as prime contractor, is integrating the system with a special ground station and a secure, high-speed, digital datalink with an automatic tracking function, which gives the system a genuine long-range capability even in severe weather conditions. DRAC’s high level of security will make it eligible for type certification as of this year.
The DRAC system is very practically packaged in two separate rucksacks so that missions can be carried out fully autonomously.
Tracker is undoubtedly among the mini-UAV systems that offer the best cost-performance ratio available in the market. In this way, the DRAC can operate by day or night for up to 90 minutes and at distances of more than 10 km from its user, transmitting in real time the images and data it has gathered through the precision of a miniaturised GPS code P(Y) receiver on board the UAV.
Numerous foreign customers have already expressed a strong interest in the Tracker system, which incidentally has already been exported and is being supported by EADS in close collaboration with the customer, who is using it very intensively.
EADS Defence & Security is consolidating its position as the only European industrial prime contractor capable of managing a portfolio of UAV systems and meeting the operational support needs not only of a system of MALE UAVs such as SIDM/Harfang but also of mini-UAV-type tactical systems such as Tracker/DRAC, while at the same time resolutely working side by side with the French, German and Spanish ministers of defence on the Talarion Advanced UAV programme.
EADS Defence & Security is also developing the Euro Hawk system in cooperation with Northrop Grumman, the Atlante tactical UAV system, the Barracuda demonstrator, etc.
Military Air Systems is an integrated Business Unit of EADS Defence & Security (DS). DS is a systems solutions provider for armed forces and civil security worldwide. Its portfolio ranges from sensors and secure networks through missiles to aircraft and UAVs as well as global security and the associated service and support solutions. In 2008, DS – with around 23,000 employees – achieved revenues of EUR 5.7 billion. EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2008, EADS generated revenues of EUR 43.3 billion and employed a workforce of about 118,000.