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French Ministry of Defense doubles capacity for Novadem NX70 micro-drones.

| 2020

Less than a year after having projected the first NX70 micro-drones from Novadem in external operations (OPEX), the DGA (French Defense Procurement Agency) 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.

French Ministry of Defense doubles capacity for Novadem NX70 micro drones 01 The Novadem NX70 micro-drone in French army service (French MoD)

Aix-en-Provence-based company Novadem has received a new order from the French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA) for 20 NX70 micro-drone systems and associated equipment (one system consists of two drones). This order is in addition to the one 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 has been retained, such as "cable power to fly several hours continuously or even RVT (remote video terminal) which allows personnel on the ground 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 soldiers in OPEX (external operation) with detection capabilities that are efficient, secure and capable of operating. day and night. The Army General Staff had issued a request in October 2018 to acquire micro-drones. The Novadem NX70 drone was then chosen by the DGA and the Army to match the requirements.

This new acquisition will allow the French forces to be equipped 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 entire delivery of this new order will be effective before the end of this summer.

From 00:23 to 03:17,  French Company Novadem presents its NX70 micro surveillance and reconnaissance UAV during Paris Air Show 2019

The second generation of NX70

Since 2016, the NX70 has evolved over the years and from RETEX users to arrive in its latest version, NX70 "Block 2". A 1kg 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 difficult weather conditions (wind up to 65 km/h, rain, dust, higher temperature range) ensuring a high availability rate. Its data links are encrypted and specific to military needs; no information is stored onboard the drone and no internet connection is required to operate the equipment, thus limiting any risk of compromise. Beyond its day and night detection and recognition capabilities, the NX70 can be equipped with extended capabilities allowing it, for example, to perform observation missions lasting several hours thanks to its power supply device from the ground via a cable or to carry additional releasable devices such as a medical kit, smoke detector, etc. Its hardened steering interface is compatible with formats for maps and coordinates in the defense sector.

Complementarities in the range of micro-drones

We are seeing an acceleration of 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 of the forces' needs. Thus, the first two segments seem to emerge, with a “low segment” concerned in particular by the call for tenders issued in February 2020 and relating to the acquisition of the first 200 micro-drones in 2020 and which can go up to 2,000 systems over time.

These micro-drones aim to provide various units of the French army with a means of "day observation and short-range hot spots during contact missions", according to the DGA call for tenders. This segment is intended for a low-cost, maintenance-free product that can be considered to be lost in operation. The Novadem NX70 drones already acquired by the 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 capabilities ( Detection Recognition Identification) day and night thanks to its high-resolution thermal camera. So it's a massive deployment that is looming with the complementarity of these two segments in the range of micro-drones.

"It is with great pride that we have received this additional order, further proof of the confidence that the DGA and the French Armed Forces have in Novadem. The second generation of the NX70 meets the expectations of the ground forces in the difficult environment of the Sahel region. With the label "Combat proven" and the doubling of the fleet of NX70 deployed, we are taking a new step in our development which opens up promising prospects for us internationally », Pascal Zunino, President and co-founder of Novadem, stated.

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