French company to produce Aarok MALE drones together with Ukrainian company "Antonov" - La Tribune
The French company Turgis & Gaillard has signed an agreement with the Ukrainian enterprise Antonov to jointly produce a smaller and cheaper version of the Aarok MALE expendable drone. The agreement was signed during a visit to Kyiv by French Defense Minister Sebastian Lecorneuil on September 28.
This was reported by the French newspaper LaTribune. It is noted that the Aarok drone, which will be produced by Antonov, is intended only for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
No specific timeframe for the release of the drones has been given. However, Fanny Turgis, president and founder of Turgis & Gaillard, said that Aarok MALE "is likely to take off in Ukraine next year."
According to her, after signing the agreement, the Ukrainian and French sides will have to agree on all the next steps at the industrial and operational level to start producing drones. In particular, they need to decide on a place to assemble the drone and decide which French and Ukrainian equipment to choose for this UAV.
The Aarok drone was secretly developed by Turgis & Gaillard, a defense company based in France. For the French defense industry, this UAV can rightly be called a record-breaking development, as it is the largest unmanned aerial vehicle ever developed by the French.
Aarok was presented at the Paris Air Show in June 2023.
The Aarok drone belongs to the MALE class - medium-altitude, long-endurance aircraft that carries various sensors and weapons depending on the mission.
The maximum speed of the drone is 463 km/h. It can fly for 30 hours and does not require prepared infrastructure.
This drone can carry up to 1500 kg of weapons and surpasses the capabilities of the MQ-9 Reaper. It has enough power and wing space to combine different payload systems. At the same time, the Aarok UAV can carry both an optoelectronic camera and a multi-mode radar and radio reconnaissance systems.
In addition, to perform strike missions, Aarok can be equipped with, among other things, the high-precision modular air-to-ground weapon AASM Hammer from the French company Safran. With this missile, the Aarok drone will have a range of 35 km.