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MADRID — Thales has been awarded a contract by a Malaysian shipbuilder to build six Fulmar UAVs. The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency will be the final client and will use the remotely piloted aircraft for surveillance, reconnaissance and border control missions, industry sources said.

At the request of the customer, Thales has not publicly announced the deal.

This is the first export of the Fulmar, which is classified in the mini-UAV category. Fulmar is designed and built in Spain by the Spanish branch of Thales. The UAV is 3.1 meters long and weighs 19 kilograms, can fly at an altitude of 3,000 meters and achieve a speed of 150 kilometers per hour.

Fulmar has eight hours of endurance due to low fuel consumption and can fly 800 kilometers without refueling. The value has not been revealed, but industry sources said Fulmar could cost US $1.1 million.

"Its dual use makes it a very versatile solution for both civil uses [traffic control, surveillance of rail lines, tracking fish stocks, surveillance of critical infrastructure like gas pipelines, oil facilities, etc.] and military use," a Thales executive engineer said.

Fulmar works with a catapult-based launcher system and net landing capability. It is available for use with a variety of fuel types such as diesel oil, JP8 and JP5, approved for use on combat ships.

The Spanish branch of Thales is trying to push the use of Fulmar by the Military Emergencies Unit and the Naval Infantry Force of the Spanish armed forces. For that reason Thales expects to build 25 Fulmars in two years.

Email: evillarejo@defensenews.com

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