Aerial Warfare

First Meeting with Japan As Observer to the Eurodrone MALE RPAS Programme

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First Meeting with Japan As Observer to the Eurodrone MALE RPAS Programme

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The European Medium Altitude Long Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (MALE RPAS), or Eurodrone
The European Medium Altitude Long Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (MALE RPAS), or Eurodrone

The Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (French: Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’ARmement; OCCAR) Medium Altitude Long Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (MALE RPAS) PD hosted a delegation of personnel from the Japanaese Embassy in Berlin and from the ATLA (Acquisition, Technology & Logistic Agency) of the Japanese Ministry of Defence, as first activity for the Japanese participation to the MALE RPAS programme as observer nation. Representatives from nations (Germany, France, Italy and Spain) also participated at the meeting as well as from Airbus Defence & Space GmbH, as prime contractor of the Eurodrone. The prime contractor presented the recent programme activities and achievements.

With the aim to ensure European strategic sovereignty the Participating States (PS) Germany, France, Spain and Italy, under the management of OCCAR MALE RPAS PD, gathered their requirements to develop the European MALE RPAS. The MALE RPAS 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). The MALE RPAS is the very first opportunity for the European industries to participate in a large UAV programme designed to be integrated into civil air traffic and to operate in non-segregated airspace.

The Japanese delegation expressed Japan's high interest in the programme and in potential other future collaborations with OCCAR.
The Japanese delegation expressed Japan’s high interest in the programme and in potential other future collaborations with OCCAR. (Photo by OCCAR)

Since its launch in 2016, the MALE RPAS Programme has successfully passed a number of significant milestones. A Definition Study was initiated to define common requirements between Germany, France, Italy and Spain and was successfully concluded in 2018 with a System Requirement Review (SRR) and a System Preliminary Design Review (SPDR). The subsequent two years were fully devoted to the offer elaboration and successful negotiation of a global contract covering development, production and initial in-service support for 20 systems (60 aircraft and 40 Ground Control Stations) with Airbus Defence and Space GmbH as Prime Contractor and Airbus Defence and Space S.A.U, Leonardo and Dassault as Major Sub-Contractors. This contract was signed on 24 February 2022.

Additionally in 2021, after the MALE RPAS programme was awarded financial support from the European Commission in the frame of the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP), OCCAR negotiated and signed with industrial partners a Grant Agreement. After completion of the first development design reviews, the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) and the Critical Design Review (CDR), the manufacture of the first Prototype is expected to commence in 2024 and the delivery of serial items to PPS is targeted by end of the decade. European MALE RPAS will be a key enabler for future operations ensuring to European nations state of the art capabilities. It will be a key pillar in any FCAS to improve the collaborative combat capabilities.

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.
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. (Photo by OCCAR)

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