The modern wars of Afghanistan and Iraq pushed the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to the forefront of military operations. This resulted in a myriad of companies throwing their hats into the ring to compete for potentially lucrative military- and civilian-minded contracts - such products as the French-originated SAGEM Sperwer ("Sparrowhawk") appearing in 2002. The aerial system was developed exclusively as a reconnaissance platform with remote piloting, going on to stock the inventories of several nations of the world - Canada (as the CU-161), Denmark, France, Greece, the Netherlands, Sweden (as the UAV01 "Owl"), and the United States (Air National Guard). Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Sweden have all retired their stock of Sperwers.
The Sperwer lacks the sleek look of other modern UAVs but its single-minded mission requires only the basics out of the design. The fuselage is rectangular in shape with slap sides, a rounded nose section, and a squared aft section. Outward-canted vertical fins are situated over the tail. The mainplanes are low-mounted along the aft fuselage sides with forward canards set just aft of the nose assembly. The powerplant is held in a compartment at the rear of the fuselage driving a four-bladed propeller in a "pusher" arrangement. Launching is by way of a launch rail. Applicable mission equipment and optics are held in the fuselage.
The French Army continues support of the Sperwer for its various operations through a limited stock of aircraft.