The French government is carrying on an evaluation programme to consider whether to buy the UK-Israeli Watchkeeper drone. Watchkeeper is the much delayed drone that will likely be introduced to the UK MOD in 2014. It is based on the Hermes 450 produced by the Israeli arms company Elbit Systems, which is used extensively in the occupation of Palestine. Watchkeeper was first flown on Israeli test ranges, and more recently at Parc Aberporth in Wales. (A history of Watchkeeper can be read here).
Examples of the drone have evaluated in France, but it isn’t clear whether they have been flown there. It was revealed yesterday that French controllers have flown Watchkeeper at Parc Aberporth, in restricted air space. Apparently the flights did not involve UK MOD, so presumably were done in cooperation with the prime contractor Thales, (French arms company).