Novadem has completed delivery of the NX70 Micro-UAS ordered by the DGA, France’s defence procurement agency, last December, the company announced on 12 September.
The order, valued at over €2 million, approved as an emergency operational requirement at the end of last year by Armed Forces Headquarters, aimed at providing high-performance, day/night secure detection capabilities to the land forces.
The last eight months have seen intense activity from the Novadem team. There are no less than 55 micro-UAS and almost 400 associated items of equipment and spares that have been manufactured and delivered to the DGA. “We managed to manufacture and deliver in a short period of time all equipment ordered by the DGA, which have been deployed shortly after in operations,” commented Novadem CEO, Pascal Zunino. “For several years, we have put in place all necessary processes and documentation to be able to face, when the day arrives, this increase of the production rate. This major contract has allowed us to refine and validate our organisation in order to make it replicable in the future and to reach the quality standards expected by the DGA.”
Despite a tight timeframe, Novadem managed to make the first NX70 systems available to the customer as early as March, intended for evaluation. Furthermore, the company was able to ensure the training of trainers from the 61st Artillery Regiment, who will train more than 100 NX70 operators in the first year. In order to meet the operational emergency needs and to ensure the immediate deployment of the systems in operations, Novadem also took in hand the training of a dozen system operators.
NX70 BLOCK 2
The NX70 itself has been evolved to a Block 2 configuration by the beginning of 2019, thanks largely to detailed customer feedback. The first generation of NX70 users was the French Gendarmerie Nationale, after Novadem won the tender in 2016 for delivery of 19 NX70 micro-UAS. Their feedback – and that of other customers in France and abroad – allowed for development to progress to the Block 2 standard, a step forward compared with the first generation. In particular the image stabilisation, DRI performances and night vision capabilities have been significantly improved. The RF links have also been evolved to meet military requirements: defence frequency bands, data encryption and a radio range increased to over 5 km.
A technical and operational evaluation conducted at the Mourmelon military camp in June by the land forces’ technical section resulted in validation of the NX70 system with reference to the French Armed Forces Headquarter’s DRI, range and endurance requirements. At the end of this evaluation, the Ministry of the Armed Forces considered the NX70 as compliant with the requirements of the operational emergency mandate and has validated its operational deployment. The NX70 systems arrived last week in external theatres of operations.
This contract represents a major step in the development of Novadem and brings the French company enhanced visibility and credibility in the international defence sector. The label “As used by French Armed Force” can now be applied to the NX70, reflecting and recognising the extensive work performed over the last 13 years.