France’s Thales successfully tests long-distance automated drone

French defense and aerospace group Thales has announced the successful testing of a long-range drone prototype that can fly missions of up to 100 kilometers. The company says the uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) is already compliant with European Special Condition Light Unmanned Aircraft Systems regulations for future drone flights over populated areas.

Fixed-wing drone will fly 100-200 kilometer missions

Thales revealed the successful trial July 6, nearly a month after its UAS 100 craft passed the June 12 flight. It says further development of the half-scale prototype will fulfill rising demand from clients wanting to fly more cost-effective drone missions that leave smaller environmental footprints. The company envisions the UAV will be used for infrastructure inspection, coastal and surveillance, event security, search-and-rescue intervention, and military operations. 

Though the UAS 100’s current range capacity is limited to 100 kilometers, the group says that…