Harfang UAV is now in service with French forces in Afghanistan. French Air Force photo ()
Franc's Harfang medium-range UAV has been launched from an African base while being controlled by a ground station in France.
While such techniques have long been used by U.S. forces, which can launch a UAV from places like Iraq and then transfer control to an American ground station, this is a first for the Harfang.
"With a flight time of around one hour, the experimental flight carried out under operational conditions proved that the UAS piloting functions could be transferred from the cockpit in Niger, where the UAV took off from, to the cockpit in Cognac almost 5,000 km away, and that the main sensor of the UAV could be activated," said an Airbus news release.
The Harfang is based on the Israel Aerospace Industries Heron. France recently signed a contract with Airbus and IAI to upgrade the Harfang as well as maintain it until the end of 2017.