Dassault Aviation CEO Eric Trappier says the proposed European UAS project begins with full agreement on workshare. (Eric Piermont/AFP/Getty Images)
BONN — One day ahead of the Berlin air show, Airbus Defence and Space, Dassault Aviation and Alenia Aermacchi announced they had agreed on further details for a joint approach to develop a next-generation advanced European unmanned aerial system (UAS).
They said they had delivered a proposal for further defining a European UAS to the French, German and Italian ministries of defense. After calling for development of a European drone at last year’s Paris Air Show, the three aeronautical companies said Europe’s industry would be ready.
Their offer for a program proposes a definition phase that has been prepared by joint development teams of Airbus, Dassault Aviation and Alenia Aermacchi. It is already backed by an industrial agreement on workshare and a cooperative agreement to start the program. The companies suggested that the three nations define and adjust their requirements for a European medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) UAS together with their armed forces and industry.
“For the first time, industry starts a project by having a full agreement on the general workshare of the MALE 2020 program,” said Eric Trappier, the CEO of Dassault Aviation.
“The proposal for the definition phase has been commonly elaborated with joint design teams and therefore demonstrates our industry’s strong commitment to this program. It is a unique opportunity to develop in Europe this strategic capacity.”
This should help avoid costly additional developments during production and minimize financial and development risks, according to the companies. At the end of the definition phase, the three companies want the nations to commit to further development of the European UAS. They say this plan will lead to an affordable, practical solution by 2020.
The MALE 2020 project is supposed to provide a needed capability to European armed forces’ in the most economical manner possible through pooling of research-and-development funding.
With a sovereign European development, the aerospace companies also want to foster the development of advanced technologies and contribute to sustaining key competencies and jobs within Europe.
“Now is the time to drive technology forward and secure Europe’s capability in building the next generation of military air system as well as maintain talent and expertise in our industry,” said Giuseppe Giordo, Alenia Aermacchi’s CEO.
Several European nations have a requirement for a UAS. In 2013, the European Council also recognized the development of a MALE UAS as a key capability for European defense. ■