Aerial Warfare

OCCAR Hosts Medium Altitude Long Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft System Programme Board Meeting

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OCCAR Hosts Medium Altitude Long Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft System Programme Board Meeting

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OCCAR Hosts Medium Altitude Long Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft System Programme Board Meeting
OCCAR Hosts Medium Altitude Long Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft System Programme Board Meeting

Following the contract start for the MALE RPAS aka Eurodrone Programme in March 2022, OCCAR hosted the first Programme Board meeting with the participation of high-level representatives from the four participating nations, Germany, Italy, France and Spain. The meeting provided an excellent opportunity for OCCAR and the prime contractor Airbus Defence and Space GmbH along with the main industry partners Leonardo, Dassault Aviation and Airbus Defence and Space SAU to highlight the latest achievements and progress in the development of the system (requirement and design maturation, supplier selection, assumption validation in wind tunnel test etc.) and to present the upcoming activities such as parts and bench test manufacturing.

The European Medium Altitude Long Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (MALE RPAS), or Eurodrone, is a twin-turboprop MALE UAV under development by Airbus, Dassault Aviation and Leonardo for Germany, France, Italy and Spain, with a first flight expected by mid-2027. Missions targeted are long endurance intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and ground support with precision-guided weapons. The twin-turboprops are mounted in a pusher configuration behind the wing, similar to the smaller BAE Systems Mantis, and one-third larger than the MQ-9. The drone’s dual engines were a demand of Germany, which intended to use the UAV for surveillance over domestic urban areas and was concerned that an engine failure in a single-engine drone could lead to the drone crashing into a house.

Photo by OCCAR
Photo by OCCAR

On 18 May 2015, France, Germany and Italy launched a European MALE RPAS study over two years, joined by Spain since, to define its operational capabilities, system requirements and preliminary design.In November 2015, the program management was assigned to the European defence procurement agency OCCAR, with European Defence Agency support for air traffic integration and certification. The definition study was to be contracted in the first half of 2016, the potential development and production then aiming for a 2025 first delivery. A two-year definition study was launched in September 2016. Airbus, Dassault Aviation and Leonardo unveiled a full-scale mockup at the April 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show. In October 2018, OCCAR invited Airbus Defence and Space to submit a tender for the program, to coordinate the major sub-contractors, Dassault and Leonardo.

The Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (French: Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’ARmement; OCCAR) is a European intergovernmental organisation that facilitates and manages collaborative armament programmes through their lifecycle between the governments of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The highest decision-making body within OCCAR as corporate organisation is the Board of Supervisors (BoS). Each OCCAR programmes is supervised by a Programme Board (strategic decisions) and a Programme Committee (operational decisions). The programmes are executed by the OCCAR Executive Administration (OCCAR-EA) in accordance with the decisions of the supervisory bodies.

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