Israel’s Elbit Systems and French company Sagem Défense Sécurité agreed on September 15 to form a joint venture by early next year. To be based at Eragny and Montluçon in France, the joint venture will market UAV systems in France and other designated markets, and will take over existing initiatives. The new venture will draw on the portfolios of both companies, which include the popular Skylark and Hermes range from Elbit, and the Sperwer and Patroller from Sagem.
Elbit was quick to resolve one immediate potential conflict that might arise from the new venture, by saying that it would continue to fully support the bid by Thales to sell the Hermes 450-based Watchkeeper system to France. Elbit has an existing joint venture with Thales, known as UAV Tactical Systems, or U-TacS, to supply Watchkeeper to the British Army. France has already registered a significant interest in the system.