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EADS Harfang

France (2008)
Picture of EADS Harfang Medium Altitude, Long Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

Based on the Israeli Heron, the French EADS Harfang UAV have already seen considerable service over Afghanistan, Libya and Mali.


Detailing the development and operational history of the EADS Harfang Medium Altitude, Long Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).  Entry last updated on 5/31/2016. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

As with many other European powers, the French have fielded only a limited fleet of UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) systems to date with a few indigenous, in-development products still in the works. In 1995, the French Air Force committed to the Israeli-born IAI (Israel Aerospace Industries) RQ-5 "Hunter", a prop-driven, unarmed data-collecting air vehicle also endorsed by the United States military. Finding its services useful, French Air Force interest piqued when IAI unveiled its popular "Heron" during 1999. The Heron went on to stock the inventories of several military powers including Israel, India, Germany, Brazil and Turkey. The French Air Force then selected the Heron as its next UAV commitment and, with help from IAI, developed a customized Heron-based solution that became the EADS-sponsored "Harfang". First flight of the new vehicle was on September 9th, 2006 with an introduction in June of 2008. Only four units were procured in all.

The Harfang is categorized as a "Medium-Altitude, Long-Endurance" (MALE) UAV giving it the necessary altitude and range capabilities required for French Air Force operations. As with other UAVs of this class, the Harfang is a remotely-controlled offering utilizing a Ground Control Station (GCS) driven by an operator. The Harfang features a centralized fuselage nacelle housing avionics, mission payload, engine and fuel while its wheeled undercarriage restrict operations to prepared surfaces such as runways. Unlike American Predator UAVs (and similar), the Harfang is not armed and instead used for the reconnaissance/data-collecting role through specialized equipment fitted to the belly/chin areas. This very useful information garnered is then interpreted by ground commanders. The Harfang has a twin-boom configuration with straight wing appendages, very similar in form and function as the Heron while power is served through a single Rotax 914 F series turbocharged engine driving a two-bladed propeller in a "pusher" configuration at the rear of the fuselage nacelle.

Manufactured by Malat of Israel, the Harfang is managed through EADS in France.

The Harfang's first notable service was in 2007 where it provided security for the Pope's visit to France. It was then deployed in the Afghanistan Theater in support of the French commitment. Harfangs were also in play during the 2011 Libyan Civil War and have been pressed into service most recently with the French military over Mali against Islamic radicals - driving home the need for more capable UAV systems in the French inventory.

It is said that, as of 2013, the French Air Force has moved to procuring the armed General Atomics MQ-9 "Reaper" series of originating in the United States to replace the outgoing fleet of Harfangs. Training of French Reaper pilots began in late 2013 and the first vehicles have already been delivered to French forces. The Harfangs may then, in turn, be sold to the Moroccan Air Force for extended service lives.

Any available statistics for the EADS Harfang Medium Altitude, Long Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 150mph
Lo: 75mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (129mph).

    Graph average of 112.5 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the EADS Harfang's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
4
4


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
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Origin: France
Year: 2008
Type: Medium Altitude, Long Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
Manufacturer(s): EADS - Netherlands / Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) - Israel
Production: 4
Global Operators:
France
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the EADS Harfang model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
30.51 ft


Meters
9.3 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
54.46 ft


Meters
16.6 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
1,455 lb


Kilograms
660 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
2,756 lb


Kilograms
1,250 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Rotax 914F turbocharged engine developing 115 horsepower.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
129 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
207 kph


Knots
112 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
621 mi


Kilometers
1,000 km


Nautical Miles
540 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
24,934 ft


Meters
7,600 m


Miles
4.72 mi

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

None. Payload made primarily of sensors, optics and communications equipment.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Eagle 0 - Base Prototype Designation
• Eagle 1 - Initial production model designation
• Eagle MPR - Navalized variant of Eagle 1
• Eagle 2 - Enlarged version of the Eagle 1 model with American Pratt & Whitney PT6 turbopropeller arrangement.
• Harfang - Alternative designation