Airbus and the Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation (OCCAR) have signed the Eurodrone global contract, which includes the development and manufacturing of 20 systems and five years of initial in-service support.
Industry prime Airbus Defence and Space GmbH signed in representation of the three Major Sub-Contractors (MSC), Airbus Defence and Space S.A.U in Spain, Dassault Aviation in France and Leonardo S.p.A. in Italy, while OCCAR has signed on behalf of the four launch nations Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
Eurodrone is a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) with versatile and adaptable capabilities that make it the perfect platform for Intelligence, Surveillance Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions or homeland security operations. Its opened architecture is part of a future-proof design that will allow for growth and rescoping system capabilities as may be required by the future needs of customer armed forces.
It is the first MALE designed from the start to meet requirements for integration into civil airspace, helping to improve efficiencies such as use of direct flight paths, without the need for pre-planned emergency landing sites, which saves time, fuel and, as a result, CO2 emissions.
Eurodrone relies on Digital Design, Manufacturing and Services (DDMS), a new, digital-first approach applied by Airbus to the way aerospace products are designed, manufactured and operated throughout all product phases. Eurodrone is the first program that will be fully designed and developed from the start through DDMS in a stepped approach and aims to benefit from better upgrade planning, improved operational availability and lower life-cycle costs.
“This signature kicks-off the development of one of the most ambitious European defense programs,” said Mike Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space. “Eurodrone is the result of collaborative work between the industry, OCCAR and the nations. It will deliver the most advance Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) in its segment, generate more than 7,000 high-tech jobs within the industry and will strengthen European industrial sovereignty, know-how and collaboration between nations.”
“This contract marks the determination of the European nations and industrial partners to achieve the political goals and to meet the technological challenges leading to European defense sovereignty,” said Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation. “Innovative programs with strong key technological foundations will guarantee the strategic autonomy of Europe by offering new alternatives to the on-the-shelf acquisition of non-European products. Thanks to a shared vision and a pragmatic approach, Eurodrone is carried by the choice of best in-house competencies and expertise of each company.”
“[The] announcement marks an important milestone for the European nations which confirms the determination and achievements of the Industrial Partners in meeting the challenges that accompany the development of a complex and strategic European Defense and Security Program,” said Lucio Valerio Cioffi, General Manager of Leonardo. “Eurodrone will provide high performance and sovereign operational systems to the armed forces and represents a key constituent of the European Defense Industry as well as a unique opportunity to showcase our high technological expertise and capabilities stemming from decades of European collaboration on military programs. Eurodrone will contribute to sustaining key competencies and jobs within Europe, providing armed forces with top performance and independent operational systems for years to come.”