The Sagem Crecerelle drone (“Kestrel”): a reconnaissance UAV developed in France in the 1990s

The Sagem Crecerelle (“Kestrel”) is a reconnaissance UAV developed in France in the 1990s, based on the Meggitt Banshee target drone. Its configuration is much like that of the Banshee, with a pusher prop, a clipped delta wing, and a single tailfin, though its fuselage is more cylindrical. It is powered by a 20 kW (26 hp) rotary engine and has no landing gear, being recovered by parachute and airbags. The Crecerelle saw action with French forces during the Kosovo campaign in 1999. Meggitt sells much the same machine as the Spectre.

General characteristics

Crew: None
Length: 2.40 m (7 ft 11 in)
Wingspan: 3.30 m (10 ft 10 in)
Height: 0.70 m (2 ft 4 in)
Gross weight: 120 kg (250 lb)
Powerplant: 1 × WAE 342 , 19 kW (25 hp)


Maximum speed: 240 km/h (150 mph, 130 kn)
Endurance: 5 hours
Service ceiling: 3,100 m (10,000 ft)

SAGEM (Société d’Applications Générales de l’Électricité et de la Mécanique, translated as “Company of General Applications of Electricity and Mechanics”) was a French company involved in defense electronics, consumer electronics, and communication systems.

Founded in 1924, SAGEM initially specialised in mechanical engineering and tool manufacture. Early in its existence, it entered the defense sector. The company made a foray into telecommunications in 1942 with the first telex printer, although it was principally a defense-oriented company during the first few decades of the post-war era. This majority focus upon the military sector continued for several years after the departure of Marcel Môme, SAGEM’s founder.

During the 1980s, SAGEM’s distributed Japanese fax machines while developing its own technology. Over the traditional defense sector, such products accounted for a growing share of SAGEM’s revenues. During the 1990s, the firm entered the automotive systems sector. Starting in 1997, the company produced GSM telephones for the French market, at one point holding roughly 50% of it.

By the turn of the century, SAGEM’s net profits neared the FF 1 billion mark during 1999. In 2005, SAGEM and SNECMA merged to form Safran. Together, the companies focus mainly on aeronautics, defense, and security. The communications and mobile telephony businesses were spun off as two independent entities: Sagemcom and MobiWire.

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