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Canadian Military Aircraft
Serial Numbers
Canadian Armed Forces
Detailed list CU-161 Sperwer
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Photo courtesy of Department of National Defence

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NOTE(1): The information on this page has been assembled from publicly available Department of National Defense documents and press releases, speculative articles in the trade journals (such as Jane's Defense and Flight International), and a bit of guess work on my part.  It should be considered very tentative.  The CU-161s in Afghanistan from spring of 2006 have been operated by the Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Flight, made up of members from No. 408 (Tac Hel) Squadron at CFB Edmonton and the 5e Régiment d’artillerie légère du Canada from CFB Valcartier.
NOTE(2):  A french web site has reported that the French military has purchased the six surviving CU-161s (2 of them damaged) in mid 2009.

 

Designer

Manufacturer

basic designation

variant or model

name

 

company designation

company number

 

 

 

161001

SAGEM

 

CU-161

 

Sperwer

 

first date: August 2003 - Order placed.

 

This may have been the unit used for initial training in Canada from September 2003.  Deployed to Afghanistan on 29 October 2003, with the UAV Troop of 2 Royal Canadian Horse Artillery Regiment, Petawawa, Ontario.  First public flight in Afghanistan on 6 November 2003.  Operational in Kabul as late as April 2004.  Believed to have returned to Valcartier, PQ in August 2004.  Used for training at CFB Suffield, Alberta in September 2005.  Category B damage near Kandahar, Afghanistan on 21 November 2006, when landing air bags deployed shortly after launch.  Landed 250 metres from launcher.  Investigation focusing on air bag control system, improvements being developed.  Category B damaged again at Kandahar on 1 November 2008, appears engine kill button inadvertently pushed during launch.

161002

SAGEM

 

CU-161

 

Sperwer

 

first date: August 2003 - Order placed.

 

Deployed to Afghanistan on 29 October 2003.  Category B damage on 20 March 2004, near Kabul, Afghanistan.  Was launched on operational mission, failed to climb above 50 feet AGL.  Parachute deployed, but did not have time to inflate.  Possibility of mis-set carburetor, and resulting power loss at high density altitude.  Believed to have returned to Valcartier, PQ in August 2004.  Used for training at CFB Suffield, Alberta in September 2005.  Back in Afghanistan when it suffered Category B damage on 6 July 2006, when airbags deployed shortly after launch.  Impacted ground 300 metres from launcher.  Investigation focusing on possible failure and sand contamination in valve in airbag inflation system.  Category B damage on 9 May 2008 at CFB Wainwright, Alberta.  Propeller tip contacted launcher during launch, aircraft crashed 50 metres from end of launcher.

161003

SAGEM

 

CU-161

 

Sperwer

 

first date: August 2003 - Order placed.

 

Deployed to Afghanistan on 29 October 2003. Crashed while performing test flight in Afghanistan, as part of granting of flight authority.  Parachute failed to deploy at end of flight, turbulence may have played a role.

 

last date: 21 November 2003 - Category A damage after "hard landing" near Kabul, Afghanistan

161004

SAGEM

 

CU-161

 

Sperwer

 

first date: August 2003 - Order placed.

 

Category C damage on 30 June 2004, near Kabul, Afghanistan.  Contact lost near end of night time operational mission.  Recovered in emergency mode and landed in a residential area,  lightly contacting a power line and coming to rest against the wall of a house.  No obvious collateral damage and no injuries were experienced.   Damage to the right wing and nose areas.  Alternator positive cable found to have abraded on bolt due to incorrect clamp installation, causing short and total electrical failure.  Classified as Category C damage.  Subsequent investigation found several other maintenance anomalies, report stated "hastening of maintenance training in order to expedite theatre deployment of the UAV troop had a detrimental effect on maintenance quality assurance."  Believed to have returned to Valcartier, PQ in August 2004.

161005

SAGEM

 

CU-161

 

Sperwer

 

first date: August 2003 - Order placed.

 

Deployed to Afghanistan on 29 October 2003.  Was practicing autopilot recovery circuits, descent command was issued early on fourth practice approach circuit.  Impacted the terrain while in a descending final turn to the inbound track.  The air vehicle sustained A category damage.

 

last date: 19 January 2004 - Category A damage after flying into terrain on training mission, near Kabul, Afghanistan.

161006

SAGEM

 

CU-161

 

Sperwer

 

first date: August 2003 - Order placed.

 

Last of first order for 6 airframes.  Operational in Afghanistan by 2006.

161007

SAGEM

 

CU-161

 

Sperwer

 

first date: 2004 - delivered

 

Replacement aircraft, part of second batch ordered c. April 2004.  Possibly rebuilt from earlier serial number?  Category D damage at CFB Cold Lake, Alberta on 1 May 2005.  Aircraft was being used to test maximum link range and recovery accuracy, when the aircraft suffered total electrical failure, resulting in automatic recovery.  Category C damage on 14 October 2005, during training mission at Camp Wainwright, Alberta.  Drifted after recovery parachute deployed, landed in group of small birch trees, 288 meters from intended touch down point.  Operated at that time by the TUAV Flight, made up of personnel from No. 408 (TacHel) Squadron and 5e Régiment d’artillerie légère du Canada.  Severe damage on 24 October 2006, when engine lost power shortly after launch from Kandahar airport.  Carburetor had been replaced a few days earlier.  Category B damage at Kandahar on 18 august 2008, when parachute did not fully deploy after normal mission.

161008

SAGEM

 

CU-161

 

Sperwer

 

first date: 2004 - delivered

 

Replacement aircraft, part of second batch ordered c. April 2004.  Possibly rebuilt from earlier serial number?  Operational in Afghanistan by 2006.  Destroyed at Kandahar airport on 22 November 2007, when parachute did not deploy during recovery sequence.

 

last date: 22 November 2004 - Destroyed, see comments

161009

SAGEM

 

CU-161

 

Sperwer

 

first date: 2006 - delivered

 

First aircraft of third batch, ordered in December 2005, deliveries scheduled for mid 2006.  Destroyed on 6 May 2006, when parachute did not deploy during recovery from an operational mission at Kandahar airport.  Destroyed by post impact fire.  Unlike first two batches, this vehicle was in overall grey finish.

 

last date: 6 May 2006 - Destroyed, see comments

161010

SAGEM

 

CU-161

 

Sperwer

 

first date: 2006 - delivered

 

Part of third batch, ordered in December 2005, deliveries scheduled for early 2006.  Destroyed on 11 January 2007, when engine failed 30 kilometres from Kandahar airport.  Initial report indicates fuel pump failure.

 

last date: 11 January 2007 - Destroyed, see comments

161011

SAGEM

 

CU-161

 

Sperwer

 

first date: 2006 - delivered

 

Part of third batch, ordered in December 2005, deliveries scheduled for early 2006.

161012

SAGEM

 

CU-161

 

Sperwer

 

first date: 2006 - delivered

 

Part of third batch, ordered in December 2005, deliveries scheduled for early 2006.

161013

SAGEM

 

CU-161

 

Sperwer

 

first date: 2006 - delivered

 

Part of third batch, ordered in December 2005, deliveries scheduled for early 2006.  Operational in Afghanistan by July 2006, in overall light grey scheme.

161014

SAGEM

 

CU-161

 

Sperwer

 

first date: 2006 - order placed

 

Probably one of the ex-Danish Sperwers, acquired second hand in September 2006.  Destroyed in a crash at Kandahar airport on 24 January 2007, when controls froze during recovery operation after hurried operational launch.  Preliminary investigation cites unofficial abbreviated check list being used, due to time pressures.

 

last date: 24 January 2007 - Destroyed, see comments

161015

SAGEM

 

CU-161

 

Sperwer

 

first date: 2006 - order placed

 

Probably one of the ex-Danish Sperwers, acquired second hand in September 2006.

161016

SAGEM

 

CU-161

 

Sperwer

 

first date: 2006 - order placed

 

Probably one of the ex-Danish Sperwers, acquired second hand in September 2006.  Operational in Afghanistan by December 2007, in overall grey finish.  Category B damage during a launch from Kandahar Airfield on 25 May 2008.  Propeller was damaged during launch, foreign objects (tools) suspected on launch rail.

161017

SAGEM

 

CU-161

 

Sperwer

 

first date: 2006 - order placed

 

Probably one of the ex-Danish Sperwers, acquired second hand in September 2006.  Category B damage near Kandahar, Afghanistan on 6 April 2008.  Engine power dropped shortly after launch, crew initiated emergency recovery, but aircraft hit ground before parachute and airbag fully deployed.  Category B damage again at Kandahar on 25 July 2008, ground station equipment faults resulted in  hard landing.  Destroyed on 25 October 2008, near Kandahar.  Engine failure during routine mission lead to emergency landing off field.  Airframe scavenged by locals before being recovered.

 

last date:  25 October 2008 – see comments

161018

SAGEM

 

CU-161

 

Sperwer

 

first date: 2006 - order placed

 

Probably one of the ex-Danish Sperwers, acquired second hand in September 2006.  Destroyed in Afghanistan on 8 April 2007, when the aircraft departed controlled flight while cruising en route to operational location.  Initial report cites alternator failure, resulting in automatic recovery sequence being started.

 

last date: 8 April 2007 - Destroyed, see comments

161019

SAGEM

 

CU-161

 

Sperwer

 

first date: 2006 - order placed

 

Probably one of the ex-Danish Sperwers, acquired second hand in September 2006.  Operated at CFB Wainwright, Alberta in May 2007, during Exercise Maple Guardian, in overall grey finish.  Destroyed at Kandahar, Afghanistan on 5 March 2008.  Failed to climb after launching, struck piece of construction equipment 365 metres from launch site.

 

last date: 5 March 2008 - Destroyed, see comments

161020

SAGEM

 

CU-161

 

Sperwer

 

first date: 2006 - order placed

 

Probably one of the ex-Danish Sperwers, acquired second hand in September 2006.  Destroyed in crash at Kandahar airport on 10 July 2007.  Crew was performing manual recovery sequence, parachute began deployment at too low an altitude and aircraft was destroyed by impact.

 

last date: 10 July 2007 - Destroyed, see comments

161021

SAGEM

 

CU-161

 

Sperwer

 

first date: 2006 - order placed

 

Probably one of the ex-Danish Sperwers, acquired second hand in September 2006.  Category C damage at Kandahar airport on 3 July 2007.  Piece of propeller left airframe shortly after launch, parachute did not fully deploy due to low altitude.

161022

SAGEM

 

CU-161

 

Sperwer

 

first date: 2006 - order placed

 

Probably one of the ex-Danish Sperwers, acquired second hand in September 2006.  Destroyed near Kandahar Airfield on 5 May 2008.  engine lost power right after launch, aircraft struck ground at high speed 10 seconds after launch.

 

last date:  5 May 2008 – destroyed, see comments

161023

SAGEM

 

CU-161

 

Sperwer

 

first date: 2006 - order placed

 

Probably one of the ex-Danish Sperwers, acquired second hand in September 2006.  Category A damage at Kandahar airport on 31 October 2007, when parachute did not deploy during recovery sequence.

 

last date: 31 October 2007 - Destroyed, see comments

161024

SAGEM

 

CU-161

 

Sperwer

 

first date: 2006 - order placed

 

Possibly one of the ex-Danish Sperwers, acquired second hand in September 2006.  Category B damage on 22 May 2008, near Kandahar Airfield.  Aircraft pitched down and struck ground shortly after launch, blocked pitot tube suspected.

161025

SAGEM

 

CU-161

 

Sperwer

 

first date: 2006 - order placed

 

Possibly one of the ex-Danish Sperwers, acquired second hand in September 2006.  Category B damage on 27 March 2008, west of Kandahar airfield.  Normal launch, but contact lost while transiting to operational area.  Entered safe mode, damaged in parachute landing.

161026

SAGEM

 

CU-161

 

Sperwer

 

first date: 2006 - order placed

 

Possibly one of the ex-Danish Sperwers, acquired second hand in September 2006.  Destroyed at 09:00 local on 9 August 2008 near Kandahar Airfield.  Pitched abnormally right after parachute deployed for normal landing, struck ground nose down with partially inflated parachute.  Parachute misrigging suspected.

 

last date: 9 August 2008 – Destroyed, see comments

161027

SAGEM

 

CU-161

 

Sperwer

 

first date: 2006 - order placed

 

Possibly one of the ex-Danish Sperwers, acquired second hand in September 2006.  Destroyed on 18 March 2008 at Kandahar, Afghanistan.  Apparently lost control on launch, rolled left and pitched down, striking ground at speed.

 

last date: 18 March 2008 - Destroyed, see comments

161028

SAGEM

 

CU-161

 

Sperwer

 

first date: 2006 - order placed

 

Possibly one of the ex-Danish Sperwers, acquired second hand in September 2006.  Category B damage during landing at Kandahar Airfield on 24 October 2008.  Main parachute deployed too slowly, was not full inflated when aircraft struck ground.

161029

SAGEM

 

CU-161

 

Sperwer

 

first date: 2006 - order placed

 

Possibly one of the ex-Danish Sperwers, acquired second hand in September 2006.

161030

SAGEM

 

CU-161

 

Sperwer

 

first date: 2006 - order placed

 

Possibly one of the ex-Danish Sperwers, acquired second hand in September 2006.  Destroyed near Kandahar on 22 August 2008.  Apparent engine failure in flight, emergency descent started.  Aircraft reported burning on the ground shortly afterwards.  Remains scavenged by locals, no recovery attempted.

 

last date: 22 August 2008 – Destroyed, see comments

161031

SAGEM

 

CU-161

 

Sperwer

 

first date: 2006 - order placed

 

Possibly one of the ex-Danish Sperwers, acquired second hand in September 2006.  Destroyed near Kandahar on 6 November 2008.  Engine failure during mission resulted in emergency descent from low altitude, destroyed by post impact fire.

 

last date: 6 November 2008 – Destroyed, see comments



This data has come from a variety of sources, and may contain all sorts of errors. In the future, I will add a complete list of references. For now, some recent Internet references can be found at the links below.  I would welcome any corrections or additions you may have. Contact me using the link below.

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© 2006, 2008, 2009 by R. W. R. Walker      All rights reserved under the copyright laws.

This is an amateur site - please don't rely on any of this data for anything important!
Created 10 February 2006. Updated 13 December 2009.