Europe's first locally developed MALE RPAS, Eurodrone, lands

Contract signed to build 20 Eurodrones – Europe's first locally designed MALE RPAS.

04 March 2022


Eurodrone, the first MALE RPAS designed and built in Europe kicks off with the signing of a global contract for the development and manufacturing of 20 systems.

Eurodrone is a Medium-Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) for Intelligence, Surveillance Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions or homeland security operations. It features an open architecture, which will allow for growth and rescoping system capabilities as required by the future needs of customer's armed forces.

The signing of the global contract beteen Airbus and the Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation (OCCAR) took place on the 24 February. Airbus  Defence and Space signed the contract with representation from three of the main sub-contractors, Airbus Defence and Space from Spain, Dassault Aviation in France and Leonardo in Italy. OCCAR has signed on behalf of the four launch nations Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

“This signature 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”, said Mike Schoellhorn, CEO of  Airbus  Defence and Space.    

“It 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. Innovative programmes 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”, declared Eric Trappier, chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.

Lucio Valerio Cioffi, General Manager of Leonardo, said the Eurodrone will provide high performance and sovereign operational systems to the armed forces and represents a key constituent of the European defence industry as well as a unique opportunity to showcase our high technological expertise and capabilities stemming from decades of European collaboration on military programmes.

Eurodrone is the first MALE RPAS designed from the outset to meet requirements for integration into civilian 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.

It 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 programme that will be fully designed and developed from the start tusingg DDMS in a stepped approach, which aims to benefit from better upgrade planning, improved operational availability and lower life-cycle costs.