French company Turgis & Gaillard has signed a contract with Ukrainian company Antonov for the joint production of Aarok MALE drones, reports La Tribune.
According to the newspaper, the agreement was signed during the visit of French Defense Minister, Sebastien Lecornu, to Kyiv on September 28th.
According to Fanny Turgis, President and Founder of Turgis & Gaillard, the drone "should start flying in Ukraine next year." She clarified that after signing the agreement, the Ukrainian and French sides need to coordinate all subsequent actions at the industrial and operational levels to begin production of the drones. In particular, they need to determine the location for the assembly line and decide which French and Ukrainian equipment to choose for this UAV.
Turgis also noted that the Aarok, which will be manufactured by Antonov, will not be exported. The drone is intended solely for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
The Aarok drone is a medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV that carries various sensors and weaponry depending on the mission. The maximum speed of the drone is 463 km/h. It can fly for up to 30 hours and does not require special infrastructure.
The drone was unveiled at the Paris Air Show in June 2023.
On 28 September, French Defence Minister Sébastien Lecornu, along with a delegation of representatives from defense companies, visited Kyiv.
Representatives from about twenty companies involved in the production of military technology (including armored vehicles, artillery, drones, cybersecurity, and demining) have signed around twenty contracts, letters of intent, or memoranda of understanding with Ukrainian businesses.
The French Ministry of Defence highlighted that this "demonstrates the mobilization of French industrial know-how in support of Kyiv".