The French Army will decommission its fleet of CL289 reconnaissance UAVs by the end of 2010 after 17 years of operation.

The CL289 drone is capable of operating at low altitudes and can capture infrared images or colour photographs.

The capabilities of CL289 do not meet the current needs of French ground forces because of the inability to redirect the UAV during flight for searching a particular elusive and very mobile enemy, like that in Afghanistan.

The drone was introduced in 1993 and was deployed several times such as in 1996 on behalf of the stabilisation force (SFOR) and in 2008 under the force of the EU (the EUFOR).

The French Army’s SDTI and DRAC UAVs, currently serving in Afghanistan, have better flight range and can pinpoint targets.