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The Sperwer Long Endurance Successfully Achieves its Maiden Fligh

Sperwer Long Endurance before launch

The Sperwer Long Endurance Successfully Achieves its Maiden Flight

Mourmelon, France -- (SAGEM) November 27, 2001 -- Sperwer-Long Endurance, an endurance tactical UAV proposed by Sagem, was successfully tested in flight on November 27th within the Mourmelon UAV Military Range. The UAV validated in flight the performances as predicted. It demonstrated its endurance and payload capacity obtained by its new wing design. The average fuel flow was measured below 10 liters/hour, for an endurance above 12 hours. The UAV was launched by a standard Sperwer catapult and operated by the same crew on ground using the same ground station and data link as the conventional Sperwer, which flew also during the same flight campaign for other tests. The test demonstrates the ability of Sperwer to offer tactical endurance missions requiring round-the-clock permanence over the operation zone.

Sperwer Long Endurance ready for its maiden flight (Photo Sagem)

Sperwer Long Endurance features the same fuselage and equipment suite as conventional Sperwer. Its wing was redesigned with a 50% greater span. Directly derived from the conventional wing, it is built using a middle segment fitted with winglets mounted on field by the operators. The winglets are unmounted for transportation, keeping the entire aircraft within the 2.40 width, maximum admitted for road transportation.

Sperwer Long Endurance features a 50 kg payload capacity, compatible with SAR, ELINT and a number of other payloads.

With its 200 km range, the digital data link is in Ku Band, NATO compatible. Its features all the same performances as the Sperwer data link, with hand over and twin aircraft operation. Combined to the Long Endurance, it enables a wide range of missions at long range with maximized efficiency.

During its maiden flight, the Sperwer Long Endurance demonstrated all the benefit of its maximized L/D ratio: a 12 m/s climb rate after launch resulting in a 20000 ft max altitude, a slow loiter speed under 80 kts sustained with a low engine power (inducing a nearly suppressed acoustic signature). The catapult take off was perfect, with an exceptionally stable behavior. The flight enabled to record the behavior of the UAV in numerous situations and to validate the auto pilot settings. It was terminated by a standard parachute landing, which demonstrated the good behavior of the new aircraft and its real tactical operation capability. UAV recovery was made with the same truck as conventional Sperwer.

Sperwer Long Endurance recovered by parachute

First standard parachute landing of the Sperwer LE version (Photo Sagem)

The flight was a total success and closed the concept phase of this promising new tactical design.


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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).