To say that France, and Europe in general, have lacked awareness regarding the arrival of drones, and in particular Medium Altitude Long Endurance or MALE combat drones, such as the MQ1 Predator, the MQ9 Reaper, or the Turkish TB2 Bayraktar , would be a profound understatement. Not only did they all have to equip themselves abroad, from the United States for the vast majority of cases, but today they are still unable to agree on the functionalities and financing of the Eurodrone program , which is at high risk. to see the light of day just as a new generation of combat drones , much more efficient than that currently in service, will begin to equip the American and Chinese armies.
These new generation drones, which will enter service in the second half of the 2020 decade to replace the American Reaper or the Chinese Wing Loong , will combine the great autonomy and carrying capacities of current MALE drones, with stealth and the speed of combat drone prototypes like the X-47 or the Sharp Sword. Lighter and less expensive than heavy drones like the Russian S70 Okhotnik B or the US Navy's MQ25 Stingray, they will enable surveillance and strike operations even in highly contested environments. In addition, with cruising speeds of the order of Mach 0.8 and an autonomy in the 40 hour range as currently, they will offer a much wider range of action, and greatly reduced transit times, making it possible to deploy them from more distant bases.
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