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The Eurodrone program received a boost in the form of a €100 million (U.S. $118 million) grant from the European Union. The pan-European medium-altitude, long-endurance Eurodrone project was designed to build a twin-turboprop aircraft — in both an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance version and a battlefield version — aiming to wean Europe off its reliance on U.S. and Israeli UAVs, according to c4isrnet.com.
The European defense contracting agency OCCAR (Organization for Joint Armament Cooperation) is handling the deal, and it sees the move as “the beginning of European defense. The member states have finally decided to rely on European industry. It is an important step towards independence.
Led by French companies Airbus and Dassault Aviation as well as Italian firm Leonardo, the project envisages a €7.1 billion production of 20 sets of three drones for four national customers — Spain, Italy, Germany and France — with deliveries in 2028. An official promised this long expected production contract will be signed by October.
“What makes Eurodrone different from any other drone is that it is civil certification-ready,” said Francisco Sanchez Segura, Airbus executive vice president and head of engineering. “We raise the game to a higher safety standard.” Asked what technologies were being included now to ensure safety, Sanchez Segura said it was more a case of leaving space in the drone to accommodate the right technologies as and when customers wanted them.
“We are leaving provisions both in volume and system architecture so we can plug in those systems when they are required.”