Europe’s Future Military UAS, the Eurodrone, Finally Gets Green Light for Production

Airbus is one of the main industry partners involved in the Eurodrone program 6 photos
Photo: Airbus
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Europe is finally on track to start the production phase of its future Remotely Piloted Aerial System (RPAS) that’s at the heart of the controversial Eurodrone program, also known as the Euromale Rpas. Spain, the fourth of the nations that are part of this program and the last one whose green light was needed, has approved the budgets for its contribution.
Eurodrone has been criticized partially because of the inherent difficulties that come with a multi-nation project, in this case, four. Germany, France, Italy and Spain are jointly developing this pioneering program for European security and defense, centered around unmanned aerial systems (UAS). The system is meant to become an essential asset for the future combat air system, and the first of its kind to be integrated into civil airspace.

The future European UAS is based on a modular design that will enable it to operate a wide range of missions, including intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR), also boasting armed ISTAR capabilities, according to Airbus. Together with Dassault Aviation and Leonardo, Airbus Spain is supporting the program as an industry partner. According to it, Eurodrone is a “lighthouse program” for the entire European aerospace industry, and one that will be at the base of future national defense strategies.

All the program’s requirements and specifications have been negotiated between the four nations, the industry partners, and the International Armaments Agency OCCAR. By the end of last year, the only one left to give its green light was Spain.

Spain’s Council of Ministers recently authorized the budgets for Eurodrone, Aviacion Online reports. The country will be participating with a 23% share, with funding to be provided by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, as well as the Ministry of Defense.

This is great news for the European UAS program, because it means that construction can finally begin, seven years after the original project was first announced.

The future Eurodrone will be 52-foot (16 meters) long, with a 310 mph (500 kph) cruise speed and a payload of 5,070 lbs (2,300 kg). There’s still a long way to go, with the first flight set for 2026.

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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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