Warplanes: Spy/Ranger Learns From The Past


February 15, 2017: At the end of 2016 the French military ordered 105 of the new Spy/Ranger mini-UAVs for $518,000 each. This is a newly developed system and deliveries won’t begin until 2018. Moreover, it was developed by a French firm (Thales) that has been playing catchup in the UAV area for over a decade. But the Spy/Ranger was deliberately based on the most successful features of the American and Israeli competition plus a few new techs the European manufacturers have developed. Thus Spy/Ranger is built to take a lot of rough treatment as well as being protected from electronic interference. Its data feed to the ground station is encrypted and has the longest range yet for a small UAV like this. Spy/Ranger also incorporates the latest vidcam technology including much improved support software for things like stabilization and following designated items on the ground. There are apparently more features that won’t be made public until after Spy/Ranger ships.

Spy/Ranger is as 14.5 kg (32 pound) UAV with a 1.2 kg (2.6 pound) payload and endurance of 2.5 hours. The UAV can operate 15 kilometers from the operator (or twice that with an optional and more powerful controller). Wingspan is 3.8 meters (12 feet) and assembling and launching a system takes less than 15 minutes. Top speed is 90 kilometers an hour. The maximum range of transmissions from the UAV is 30 kilometers and the UAV is designed to operate automatically (including takeoff and landing) once the operator has programmed in the flight parameters (where to go, at what altitude.) The operator can intervene at any time (as long as the UAV is within range of the controller commands) to modify the flight orders.

Spy/Ranger is sold as a system, each system containing a controller, three UAVs and some maintenance equipment. The electric motor cannot be heard when the UAV is more than 200 meters (660 feet) high.

There is optional backpack equipment available in which a system (three disassembled UAVs and controller) can fit into two 25 kg (55 pound) loads. The onboard day/night video cams are stabilized and have automatic target detection software.


Article Archive

Warplanes: Current 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close