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Greek Drone Maker Nears First Surveillance Drone Sale to Greece

Hellenic Aerospace Industry (HAI), the Greek drone manufacturer, is close to completing its first sale of a surveillance drone to the Greek Ministry of Defense. Credit: Hellenic Aerospace Industry

The Hellenic Aerospace Industry (HAI) is close to selling a surveillance drone to the Greek Ministry of Defense, according to Defense News. This achievement comes a year after introducing the Archytas, specifically designed for reconnaissance and surveillance missions.

The company’s executives initially showcased the Archytas at the International Exhibition of Thessaloniki last year, with plans for the first pre-production model to undergo a test flight in March 2024.

However, the development has progressed at a faster pace than anticipated. HAI expressed its confidence that the government is likely to initiate an order after the completion of the flight test and cost estimate.

Speaking at the Dubai Airshow, Anastasia Alexopoulou, a senior sales executive, stated, “We are now planning for it to take its first flight before the year-end or by early January 2024.” She highlighted the perceived urgency from defense authorities to expedite the Archytas program.

The Archytas drone boasts the capability to remain airborne for up to four hours and can carry payloads exceeding 14kg (31 lbs). HAI’s strategy is to first introduce the surveillance drone domestically before targeting international markets. During the DEFEA defense fair in Athens in May, Croatia reportedly expressed interest in the Archytas system, indicating potential international demand.

Grypas Drone Model Faced Challenges

Despite this positive development, HAI’s progress on another drone model, the Grypas (Griffin) designed for combat, faces different challenges. According to Alexopoulou, production of the Grypas prototype will only commence upon securing a first customer. Although there is optimism that the Greek Armed Forces will be the initial buyer, no official agreement has been confirmed at this point.

The company remains optimistic about the Grypas project, and the first phase is still on track to conclude within the next two years, resulting in the production of a scaled version of the combat-oriented drone. The developments underscore HAI’s increasing prominence in the drone manufacturing sector and its efforts to cater to both domestic and international defense needs.

Advanced Greek Drone Griffin

As it was reported in January, Greece built a second, more advanced drone, the Griffin, using the expertise gained from the “Archytas” program. The Memorandum of Cooperation for financing the new drone was signed by HAI, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Democritus University of Thrace, University of Thessaly, and University of Patras.

The program for constructing the drone was initiated leveraging the collaboration with specialized officers from the Armed Forces. The Minister of National Defence at the time, Nikos Panagiotopoulos, expressed confidence in the coordinated start, allowing Greece to surpass neighboring countries in developing the new product efficiently.

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