EADS Harfang

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The EADS Harfang, formerly known as Système intérimaire de drone MALE (SIDM, “Interim medium-altitude, long-endurance drone system”) is a drone system used by the French Air Force, supplementing the RQ-5 Hunter.

The Harfang drone is an unmanned airplane propelled by a rear-mounted turbo-supercharged water-cooled flat-four engine, driving a pusher propeller. It features a flapped high wing with anti-icing system, and has a twin boom tail with two vertical surfaces. With a take-off mass of 1.2 tonnes, the Harfang can carry a 250-kg payload to height of 7500 metres for a duration of 24 hours.

The mission pack is a three-sensor sphere stabilised by gyroscope, mounted under the forward part of the fuselage. It contains optronic and IR sensors, a laser designator that doubles as a rangefinder, and a high-resolution, fixed echo suppressing synthetic aperture radar. The radar can be used to observe vehicle movement on the ground under any meteorological condition. The antenna is mounted on the centre of the body.

The Harfang carries an Inertial measurement unit with GPS recalibration, and a differential GPS that provides for automatic take-off and landing capabilities. In case of loss of communications, the drone follows a path that brings it back to its start point, while trying to re-establish contact.

The drone carries an IFF transponder and a flight recorder. The Harfang lacks electromagnetic sensors and is wanting in terms of maneuverability. It is limited by bad weather, notably by icing or high humidity conditions.



General characteristics



  • Optronic sensors
  • SAR/MTI mobile target detection radar
  • Line-of-sight and satellite communication systems
  • Laser telemeter-designator