CORRECTED-EADS in talks to extend French drone contract until 2017

Tue Jan 8, 2013 12:10pm EST

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(Corrects title of Cassidian executive Luc Boureau)

PARIS Jan 8 (Reuters) - European aerospace group EADS is in talks with the French government to extend until 2017 a contract to supply its Harfang unmanned military aircraft, a senior executive at its defence and security unit Cassidian told Reuters.

The contract with the French Air Force is due to expire at the end of 2013.

EADS is also discussing with the French defence ministry the modification of Reaper drones, built by U.S.-based General Atomics, as an interim solution before the arrival of next generation drones in the next decade, said Luc Boureau, head of sales at Cassidian in France.

"We are in talks to extend Harfang until the intermediate drone arrives," Boureau said in a telephone interview.

The French defence ministry declined to comment. (Reporting by Cyril Altmeyer; Writing by Elena Berton; Editing by Mark Potter)

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