The signature of the "Stage 2" Global Contract to further advance the development of the European Medium Altitude Long Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (MALE RPAS) project, also known as the “Eurodrone”, marks an important step for the future of the EU Defence Industry.
This Contract, signed on 24 February between the Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation (OCCAR) on behalf of the Participating States and Airbus Defence & Space GmbH, encompasses the development and manufacturing of 20 MALE air systems and more than 5 years of initial in-service support.
A Strategic Enabler for European Security & Defence Co-funded by the EU
The use of a MALE RPAS system has become an integral part of defence operations as it is an indispensable capability to facilitate international conflict prevention and crisis management during all phases of operation, especially in the field of Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR).
Considering it as a strategic enabler for European security and defence, the MALE RPAS project has received from the European Commission, under the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP), a funding grant of almost 100 million euro to help kick-start the early development phase of the project, including for "Stage 2". The start of "Stage 2" will therefore trigger the entry into force of the EDIDP grant agreement.
OCCAR was entrusted by the Commission to manage the EU contribution to Eurodrone, allowing for the seamless alignment of the EU grants with the linked procurement contracts already managed by OCCAR on behalf of the participating Member States (currently France, Italy, Germany and Spain).
An Open and Inclusive European Collaborative Programme
The European MALE RPAS also exemplifies a project seeking to develop, produce and sustain a key system in a European collaborative manner. Through an open tendering process embedded in the programme, mid-cap and SME European suppliers across the value chain will be able to participate, thereby fostering the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB).
Since its launch in 2016, the Programme has successfully passed a number of significant milestones, concluding in 2018 with a System Requirement Review (SRR) and a System Preliminary Design Review (SPDR). In the subsequent two years the Participating Member States, OCCAR and the industrial partners involved (Airbus Defence and Space, Leonardo and Dassault) reached an agreement on a global contract (Stage 2), covering development, production and initial in-service support of 20 systems. The manufacture of the first prototype is expected to commence in 2024.
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- Publication date
- 28 February 2022