French Ministry of Defense doubles the capacity of Novadem NX70 micro-drones | May 2020 Defense Industry News from the Global Security Army | Defense Security Global Information Industry Armed 2020
Less than a year after projecting the first NX70 micro-drones from Novadem in external operations (OPEX), the DGA (General Directorate of Defense) placed a new order with the company to double its fleet. This new acquisition thus brings the NX70 fleet to more than 100 drones available to support the operations of the French forces.
The Novadem NX70 micro-drone in the service of the French army (French MoD)
The Aix-based company Novadem has received a new order from the Directorate-General for Armaments (DGA) for 20 NX70 micro-drone systems and associated equipment (one system is made up of two drones). This order is in addition to that placed at the end of 2018, bringing the total acquisition to more than 4Mn euros for equipment and multi-year maintenance. In addition to drones, other peripheral equipment providing added value to the systems were selected, such as “the power cable to fly several hours continuously or the RVT (remote video terminal) which allows ground personnel to benefit from the video and cartographic feedback of the drone and thus share a global vision of the situation ”, specifies Pascal Zunino, president of Novadem.
This acquisition is a continuation of the first order placed in December 2018 which, as a reminder, had been processed by the DGA in an operational emergency in order to quickly equip the military in OPEX (external operation) with effective, secure and efficient detection capabilities. able to operate. day and night. In October 2018, the military staff issued a request for the acquisition of micro-drones. The Novadem NX70 drone was then chosen by the DGA and the Army to meet the needs.
This new acquisition will allow the French forces to equip themselves with more than 100 NX70 micro-drones in total. The delivery of this new order was half delivered last month with a reception organized by the DGA on April 3. These first systems will be immediately projected to the forces in external operations (OPEX) to join the NX70 drones already deployed. The full delivery of this new order will be effective before the end of this summer.
Evaluation campaign of the NX70 micro-drone in Djibouti by the Technical Section of the French Land Forces (Photo source: French Ministry of Defense)
The second generation of NX70
Since 2016, the NX70 has evolved over the years and RETEX users to arrive in its latest version, the NX70 “Block 2”. A 1 kg micro-drone, the NX70 has a flight range of up to 45 minutes and a range of up to 5 kilometers. The NX70 can fly in harsh weather conditions (wind up to 65 km / h, rain, dust, higher temperature range) ensuring a high uptime rate. Its data links are encrypted and specific to military needs; no information is stored on board the drone and no internet connection is necessary to operate the equipment, thus limiting any risk of compromise. Beyond its detection and recognition capabilities day and night, the NX70 can be endowed with extended capabilities allowing it, for example, to carry out observation missions of several hours thanks to its power supply device from the ground via a cable or to carry additional releasable devices such as medical kit, smoke detector, etc. Its rugged piloting interface is compatible with the formats of maps and coordinates of the defense sector.
Complementarities in the range of micro-drones
We are witnessing an acceleration in the deployment of micro-drones in the defense sector and in particular the arrival of segmentation in the range of micro-drones in order to cover all the needs of the forces. Thus, the first two segments seem to be emerging, with a “low segment” concerned in particular by the call for tenders launched in February 2020 and relating to the acquisition of the first 200 micro-drones in 2020 and which can go up to 2000. overtime systems.
These micro-drones aim to provide the various units of the French army with a means of “daytime observation and short-range hot spots during contact missions”, according to the call for tenders of the DGA. This segment is intended for a low cost, maintenance free product which can be considered lost in operation. The Novadem NX70 drones already acquired by the French Ministry of the Armed Forces are intended for the “high segment” as support micro-drones with superior performance in terms of autonomy, encrypted military link, DRI (Detection Recognition Identification) capabilities by day and by day. night thanks to its high resolution thermal camera. It is therefore a massive deployment that is emerging with the complementarity of these two segments in the range of micro-drones.
“It is with great pride that we received this additional order, further proof of the confidence that the DGA and the French Armies place in Novadem. The second generation of the NX70 meets the expectations of the land forces in the difficult environment of the Sahel region With the “Combat proven” label and the doubling of the deployed NX70 fleet, we are taking a new step in our development which opens up new prospects promising internationally ”, Pascal Zunino, President and co-founder of Novadem, declared.
The NX70 micro-drone and its ground station (Photo source: Novadem)