6/6/2012 Arie Egozi - israeldefense.com
A decision by the new government in Paris, following the failure to produce the Talarion UAV in cooperation with Turkey, may have implications for the Israeli industries producing UAVs
France is preparing to conduct a reexamination of its UAV acquisition policy and will attempt to initiate an all-European program. The results may influence the Israeli defense industries, primarily Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
France decided to acquire IAI’s large Heron TP UAV after the French-German program to construct the Talarion UAV was cancelled. Germany is also considering the acquisition as well. However, it seems that now, after the French presidential elections and the assembly of the new government, Paris is expected to conduct a renewed assessment of the entire issue of acquiring UAVs.
Prior to the elections in France, and as previously reported by IsraelDefense, it seemed that the chances of exporting Israeli UAV systems to European countries had increased considerably after the European EADS corporation decided to drastically decrease its investments in the development of the European Talarion UAV. The UAV was the result of cooperation between the European corporation and Turkish Aerospace Industries. Though the project ran across many difficulties, several months ago, the corporation decided to continue developing UAV technologies, but not the Talarion system itself.
According to Israeli sources, the decision changed the situation in Europe with regards to the potential market for UAVs. “They understood that it is not enough to have technical information – you need to know how to turn it into an operational system, and that's the main trick," an Israeli source said.
Germany withdrew from the European UAV project first, and other countries did not display much enthusiasm about it.
With regards to the Israeli UAV market, several European countries acquired Israeli UAVs produced by IAI and Elbit Systems. In addition, France operates Israeli UAVs, as does Germany. Moreover, the British Watchkeeper project is based on Elbit’s Hermes-450 UAV.