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UAV Cost Quality Trade Off

UAV Cost Quality Trade Off

As every 2 years, the Paris International Air Show was preceded by two UAV conferences. UAV 2001 (Euro UVs) and UV 2001 (Shephard’s). Among many classical subjects, UAV reliability and cost quality trade off were emphasized. First in our series on UAVs. From our Special Correspondent, F. de V., Paris, June 16, 2001. © European Security.

On this subject, the interesting case of the SAGEM Tactical UAV "Sperwer" was presented by the Dutch procurement.

The Dutch Army has required a formal JAR-VLA certification for the Sperwer system (the certification is actually under the responsibility of the Dutch Air Force). The certificate of airworthiness was awarded at the end of last year (2000), although the system was actually used by the Dutch Army way before that date. More complex than originally forecasted, the certification process has delayed the program and increased the final cost. For the record, the Belgium Army has required the same JAR-VLA based certification for the B-Hunter.

During the presentation, the added value of the certification requirement was questioned by other industrial representatives (for obvious reasons). The Swedish Army has questioned the lengthy administrative process leading to formal type certificate. However, they admitted the reliability of their Ugglan UAV which is a Sperwer design and therefore share the benefit of certification. The point being that the Swedish Army is very confident in their system and flies it without having required a formal certification process.

It seems that, although this is not required for military aircraft, a certification standard derived from the JAR-VLA and /or the FAA is a way to ensure a very high level of quality and safety for the users as well as for the environment.

What should be the ideal cost quality trade off ?

 

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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).

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