The French Army has received 35 specially modified DRAC (drone de renseignement au contact) unmanned air vehicle (UAV) systems, which will significantly enhance army capabilities in mountainous terrain.

Derived from the Tracker system developed by EADS in collaboration with the French SME SurveyCopter, the DRAC system can operate by day or night for up to 90 minutes and for short ranges beyond 10km from its user, transmitting real-time images and data.

The tracker system has been integrated with a special ground station and a secure, high-speed, digital datalink with an automatic tracking function, which gives the system genuine long-range capability even in severe weather conditions.

The DRAC allows the military missions to be carried out autonomously as the system is packaged in two separate rucksacks.

The first batch of 25 DRAC systems was delivered to the French Army in July 2008.

EADS Defence & Security is developing the Euro Hawk system in cooperation with Northrop Grumman, the Atlante tactical UAV system and the Barracuda demonstrator, among others.

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