French drone manufacturer Parrot has been selected by the Swiss Armed Forces to develop and supply micro-drones as part of the Swiss Mini UAV Program (Swiss MUAS). Parrot successfully won the contract against several commercial UAV suppliers.
According to Parrot, the performance of its defence and security solutions and the high level of cybersecurity required by the Swiss armed forces were contributing aspects to the final decision. Parrot has plenty of history in the country, including the purchase of two École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne spin-offs, Pix4D and senseFly.
armasuisse select Parrot
The call for tender was launched at the beginning of 2019 by armasuisse, the federal procurement agency responsible for the Swiss Armed Forces. The initial part of the program is intended to provide cost-effective training aids, allowing Swiss troops to become familiar with Mini UAV operations.
It’s not clear to what extent Parrot will lean on technology from its commercial drone companies, which include senseFly, in order to support Switzerland’s military plans. It’s easy to imagine the group’s fixed-wing drones supporting both personnel security and situational awareness. But senseFly, which is based in Switzerland, will be in charge of “operational support” for the project.
Unsurprisingly, product specifications, quantities and prices have not been disclosed. The only clue is from Parrot is that “the financial impact of this project will not be significant on the Group’s results.”
From which we can assume that this is a small opening contract and a promising early step into the field of security and defence for the French manufacturer.