Europe’s leading aerospace companies Airbus Defence and Space, Dassault Aviation and Finmeccanica have welcomed the agreement of France, Germany and Italy to conduct a definition study of a European developed unmanned aerial system.
Under the terms of a Declaration of Intent (DoI) signed by the nations today, the companies will conduct a two-year definition study of a Medium Altitude/Long Endurance (MALE) drone. A decision will then be taken on whether to start development and procurement of the system.
Bernhard Gerwert, CEO Airbus Defence and Space said “This important step by industry and government clearly recognizes that sovereignty in development of new systems, and specifically in military reconnaissance and unmanned aviation is of strategic importance for European security.”
Eric Trappier, CEO Dassault Aviation said: “We welcome this important announcement, which confirms the legitimacy and interest of our joint industrial initiative started in 2013. European countries must develop a sovereign, Next-Generation MALE UAS solution, for both military and security missions, which is required by our Armed Forces”.
Mauro Moretti,Finmeccanica CEO, said: “The next generation MALE UAS represents a step change for the European Defence and Security agenda. This initiative is a unique opportunity to pursue a joint technological path built on proven industrial leaderships all contributing to a single objective”.
Today’s declaration follows the three companies’ submission in May 2014 of a next-generation MALE UAS study proposal envisaging a 24-month “Definition Phase”, immediately followed by a full “Development Phase”. This will allow the delivery of the first solutions in the early 2020s.
In light of an increasing dependency of European states on non-European defence equipment and technology, Europe’s largest military aerospace companies launched in June 2013 a joint call for the sustainment of key capabilities to ensure the continent’s sovereignty in the construction of future military aircraft.
Alenia Aermacchi press release