French DGA testing AVATAR mini-drone armed with HK-416 assault rifle

The French army ought to be equipped with a small armed drone that would prove efficient in urban warfare and special operations. This is what the Israeli company Duke Robotics claimed during the presentation of its Tikad mini-drone, capable of carrying an assault rifle or explosive charges, Laurent Lagneau reports in Opex360.
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AVATAR is an armed mini-drone project led by DGA Land Techniques under the Agency's leadership, which will enable the Army to carry out technical-operational work to refine its understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of this type. systems (Picture source: Twitter account of the DGA)

Hence the interest of the AVATAR project, led by the Directorate General of Armaments "Terrestrial Techniques" [DGA TT], in Bourges, "under the impetus of AID" (Defense Innovation Agency). According to the DGA, it must "allow the Army to carry out technical and operational work to refine the understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of this type of system", Laurent Lagneau reports. According to the photograph released by the DGA via Twitter, AVATAR consisted of integrating an HK-416 assault rifle with a short barrel on a commercial hexacopter-type drone, apparently a Matrix 600 offered by the Chinese manufacturer DJI. This device, sold for nearly 6,000 euros on the market, is capable of carrying a load of 6 kg and has a maximum flight autonomy of 35 minutes.

A manager of the DGA TT gave some details about this project to France Bleu Berry. AVATAR allows “to consider shooting over a distance of 100 to 150 meters. By the end of the year, we plan to shoot with live ammunition. We are here to test. Maybe the conclusion will be that it doesn't make sense and we'll stop there, ”he explained, echoed by Laurent Lagneau who reports that the French Army's experience in operation with DJI Mavic Pro drones in 2019 has so far not proved conclusive. Simply attaching an assault rifle to an aerial drone is not enough to make it an effective system, given that a solution must be found so that the device can remain stable while being able to compensate for the recoil when firing. Some manufacturers already propose various solutions of that kind, as Army Recognition could assess at some defense exhibitions.