In an exclusive interview with defensehere.com at the 54th Paris Air Show, Patrick Gaillard, Founder and General Director of Turgis & Gaillard Group talked about France's first male UAV of that size, AAROK.
France' Turgis & Gaillard Group was founded in 2011 to provide specific weapon systems and aircraft to the French Defense Industry.
"Turgis & Gaillard Group is a French group of company of about 200 people." said Patrick Gaillard, one of the founder and General Director of Turgis & Gaillard Group. "We have two main activities here. The first one is to design and produce specific weapon system. The second one is to maintain some aircraft."
"This is a prototype of a new kind of UAV that we design. It is intended to perform male missions, so it is prepared for long endurance. It is active in three main areas. The first one would be to perform AESA missions. Thanks to its hardware and electra optical means." Gaillard stressed. "The second one would be to perform strike missions. It could be air interdiction of closer support. Thanks to the specific weapons, especially Safran HAMMER, which is a standard weapons. The third mission is to perform as a Battlefield Airborne Communication Node to perform multi domain operations."
"We have a partnership with Safran for a long time. When we begin in 2011, Safran which was called Sagem at that time was already with us. For this UAV (AAROK), we choose, Safran Euroflir 610 for electro optical system." he said.
"French Defense Industry was ready to produce AAROK"
"It's a self-funded project we design and build it with our own fund. We decide to go alone on that. Because we think that in the French defense industry is already many equipments available of the shelf which are electro optical radar, missiles and so on. We think that it was just to design the aircraft onto assemble all swift systems that will allow us to have our own male UAV." he highlighted.
"AAROK would be the first UAV of that size in France"
"AAROK would be the first UAV of that size in France. It is a pretty important because airworthiness is very important in France. French Air Force have to train in a non-security the airspace. This one will be certified so, it will fly in normal airspace." he said.
AAROK's main differences from its competitors
Regarding the AAROK's main differences on the market, "The first one is airworthiness. It will be fully certified. It will be able to fly in non-security airspace. It will have some DIC equipments and so on. This is a major one. The second one is a radar. We designed the aircraft the Searchmaster Radar, which is a very sophisticated radar, able to survey large area of sea. The third one is a standoff weapons, which is not specific to the AAROK, but make a big difference between American products and so on." he said.
"The payload is that the fuel on payload is 3 metric tons. We have to tradeoff between weapons on the ammunitions, on the fuel, is in as also 3 tons. It could fly 24 hours." he said.
Unveiled a week ago before the 54th Paris Air Show
"This is the first time AAROK UAV is invent to the public. We went to the public this UAV one week ago. This is the first time it is shown to everyone." expressed by Gaillard.
When will it be in service
He said that "We have to flight at the end of this year, at the beginning of the next year. Then there will be some developments to have. We hope to have it in service in the coming years. Our first aim is to equip French Air Force. This is our main purpose, because we are France. We want to equip our Air Force. But during the show (54th Paris Air Show), we saw many delegation which asked us about this equipments."