A prototype of the 'NEUROn' UAV flies above the military airport in Istres, in southeastern France. (R. Michelin / AFP)
Britain and France are moving closer to developing a combat UAV. Following a meeting last week between British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President François Hollande, the two nations have agreed to a $198 million joint feasibility study of an unmanned combat air system.
Britain’s BAE Systems and France’s Dassault Aviation have already been conducting preliminary research after their respective nations signed the Lancaster House treaties in November 2010. “Dassault Aviation and BAE Systems, as leaders of the project, have worked, together with their partners Safran, Rolls-Royce, Thales and Selex, to ensure the success of this ambitious [research and technology] program,” said a Dassault Aviation news release. “This decision also bolsters the national investments made in recent years, notably in the nEUROn combat UAV demonstrator.”
The nEUROn, which first flew in December 2012, is a pan-European project involving Dassault, Italy’s Alenia Aermacchi, Sweden’s Saab, Spain’s EADS-CASA, Greece’s HAI and Switzerland’s RUAG. The new Franco-British agreement “is contributing to the development of the combat air systems sector and is paving the way for the future in this strategic field,” said Dassault Aviation CEO Eric Trappier.
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