Initial Engine Tests of French AAROK MALE Drone Completed

Initial Engine Tests of French AAROK MALE Drone Completed

According to a statement released on April 15, 2024, on Turgis Gaillard’s LinkedIn account, the company developing the AAROK MALE (Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance) military drone announced the successful initial power-on and engine tests of its AAROK drone. These first tests proceeded without any issues, promising rapid commissioning.

The AAROK drone was first presented at the Paris Air Show in June 2023. This Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) drone was designed to perform missions in three main areas: surveillance and control of Exclusive Economic Zones, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region; Contribution to operational superiority (intelligence, reconnaissance, and support missions for high-intensity strikes even in contested areas); Communication hub: flying long durations at high altitude for low cost. AAROK represents a pragmatic and resilient infrastructure that facilitates battlefield digitization and the execution of joint operations (multi-domain or M2MC).

This important technical step was closely followed by a series of successes. On April 10, the drone’s engine was activated for the first time, followed by initial stability and flight control tests. All these phases were executed nominally, in line with the development teams’ expectations.

The AAROK, birthed from the innovative minds of French defense contractor Turgis & Gaillard, is a 5.4-ton behemoth. Possessing a 72-foot wingspan, it carries roughly 3,300 pounds of munitions, while the drone itself makes up the remaining weight. But its mammoth stature isn’t its only impressive feature.

Armed with a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 turboprop engine, delivering a robust 1,200 hp, the AAROK is built to conquer any terrain. Be it rough grounds or an aircraft carrier, this beast of a drone, complete with sturdy landing gear, can take flight with ease. Once airborne, remote operators command the drone via its satcom datalink. Its marathon-like endurance allows for 24 hours of continuous operation, a critical feature for long surveillance or combat missions.

With its powerful offensive and reconnaissance capabilities, the AAROK is a formidable asset on the battlefield. Equipped with optronic sensors, radar, and SIGINT sensors, it efficiently scans for enemy activity and strategic points. It’s ready to release a payload of air-to-ground and precision-guided munitions in combat.

The French contractor sees the AAROK as a maritime surveillance tool and a battlefield communications node. Turgis & Gaillard envisions it as a “key asset for operational dominance” for unmanned strikes. Additionally, the company emphasized the drone’s ease of assembly. The AAROK utilizes off-the-shelf components housed within a robust yet straightforward fuselage, streamlining production while keeping development costs and labor in check.

The success of these milestones underscores the steady progress of the AAROK program and reinforces confidence in its ability to meet operational requirements and future challenges. The next phases of development will be eagerly anticipated, as France continues to establish itself as a leader in the field of combat drones and high technology weaponry.

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