French, U.S. Procurement Chiefs Discussed Predator

The head of the DGA    flew July 2 to the United
States to meet  executives
of General Atomics to gather information about the Predator B drone, a
DGA official said.

The meeting with General Atomics was intended to provide information
on the Predator B, also known as the MQ-9 Reaper, which France is
considering buying to meet a requirement for a medium-altitude,
long-endurance (MALE) surveillance drone for Afghanistan.

Minister Hervé Morin told Reuters on Sept. 1 on the margins of a
conference of the MEDEF employers organization that a decision would be
taken in the autumn on acquiring a MALE UAV.
The Predator system
is seen as fitting the 600 million euro ($766.8 million) budget and
costing less than the Talarion Advanced UAV from EADS and the rival SDM
proposed by Thales and Dassault Aviation.

EADS continues to fund
its own work on the Talarion in the hopes France, Germany and Spain
will commit to development of the Advanced UAV program.

Thales and Dassault, meanwhile, hope France and Spain will pick their SDM, which is based on the Israeli-built Heron TP UAV.
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