Leonardo has been selected by Safran Electronics & Defense to provide the PicoSAR AESA (E-Scan) radar for its Patroller UAV. The radars will be used by the French Army, which surprised some observers when it selected the Patroller in April 2016 as its future tactical UAV, in preference to the Thales Watchkeeper.
The multi-million-euro contract will see Leonardo provide an unspecified number of radars and spares, which will be used for long-range, over-land surveillance missions. The contract with Safran was for 14 vehicles, plus a further four for crew training. First deliveries are expected in 2017 and Leonardo is working closely with Safran to satisfy the requirements of the French forces.
Leonardo says its PicoSAR — designed and built at the company’s ex-Selex ES facilities in Edingurgh, UK — was selected because, in addition to meeting a number of demanding technical requirements, the company took an open and collaborative approach to working with Safran, ensuring that the radar worked perfectly with the Patroller’s mission system and was a fit for the French forces’ needs.
The Leonardo radar has flown on more than 10 different platforms. UK-designed and manufactured, PicoSAR has been flown in Oceania, the Far East, the Middle East, Europe, North Africa, North America and South America and has been acquired by more than 10 different customers. PicoSAR is part of Leonardo’s extensive portfolio of airborne radars that include best-in-class M-Scan (mechanically-scanning) and E-scan (electronically scanning) systems designed, manufactured and supported by Leonardo Airborne and Space Systems division.