French military evaluates DT26 spy drone in Djibouti desert

French military evaluates DT26 spy drone in Djibouti desert

The French-made DT26 long-range surveillance drone has demonstrated its multi-role capabilities during tests in the Djibouti desert.

From March 10 to 20, 2024, the air base 188 “Colonel Massart” hosted a delegation comprising personnel from the Military Air Expertise Center (CEAM) of the BA 118 in Mont-de-Marsan, the Air Parachute Commando No. 20 (CPA20), and the Operational Preparation Center of the Air and Space Force Combatant (CPOCAAE) of the BA 115 in Orange, accompanied by a member of the company “Delair” for a series of experimental flights of the DT26 drone system.

The Delair DT26, a tactical surveillance drone with a wingspan of 3.30 meters and weighing less than 15 kilograms, equipped with electro-optical and infrared capabilities, underwent testing in the demanding and abrasive conditions of Djibouti for nearly 15 days.

Over the course of the two-week experimentation, the team led by Adjutant Sylvain ventured daily into selected work areas known for their particularly challenging conditions: the Grand Bara desert, the Qaïd desert, and the Arta region. The DT26 was tested across its full range of missions, conducting numerous flights repeatedly. In total, nearly 15 hours of flight time, with 57 takeoffs and landings, were completed.

The spy drone underwent intensive testing, facing the four elements: sand, heat, humidity saturating the Djiboutian sky, and winds reaching up to 16m/s. These experiments also included using the system in different employment conditions, including night flights, as well as a series of takeoffs after being air-transported aboard a PUMA from the Transport Squadron (ET) 88 “Larzac.”

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