|Role||Battlefield reconnaissance drone|
|Manufacturer||Manufacture Belge De Lampes Et De Matériel Electronique|
|Primary user||Belgian Army|
The MBLE Épervier (English: Sparrowhawk) was a 1970s Belgian battlefield reconnaissance system which included an X-5 air vehicle, a launcher and a drone control centre. It served with the Belgian Army until 1999.
Design and development
Originally the Épervier system was designed to meet a NATO requirement and in July 1969 the Belgian Government decided to fund the development programme, a cooperation contract with Manufacture Belge De Lampes Et De Matériel Electronique (MBLE) was signed in early 1971. Early prototypes of the drone (designated X-1 to X-4) were flown to prove the concept and at the end of the 1972 in to 1973 the system underwent an operational evaluation, it proved an ability to photograph a target up to 70 km (43 miles) away in either guided or programmed mode.
The X-5 air vehicle is an unmanned monoplane drone powered by a Lucas TJ 125 turbojet, and built under contract by Fairey SA. It has a truncated delta wing with endplate fins and a central fin. The X-5 can carry 70mm day or night cameras and infra-red line-scanning equipment which can transmit real-time data.
The launcher is a short orientable ramp, the drone is recovered by parachute. The Drone Control Centre has all the equipment to for guiding and tracking the air vehicle. The system also has a mobile photographic processing and interpretation unit.
Following further evaluation and testing the Épervier entered service with the Belgian Army in 1977 and served until 1999.
- Length: 2.38 m (7 ft 9¾ in)
- Wingspan: 1.72 m (5 ft 7¾ in)
- Height: 0.92 m (3 ft 0¼¼ in)
- Gross weight: 142 kg (313 lb)
- Powerplant: 1 × Lucas TJ 125 turbojet, 0.5 kN (114 lbf) thrust
- Cruising speed: 500 km/h (312 mph)
- Endurance: 0 hours 25+ min
- Service ceiling: 1830 m (6000 ft)
- Related lists
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to MBLE Epervier.|
- Taylor, ed. (1973). Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1973-74. London, United Kingdom: Jane's Yearbooks. ISBN 0-354-00117-5.
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