By David Oliver
The first full-scale model of the European Medium-Altitude Long- Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft (MALE RPAS) was unveiled on 26 April at ILA Berlin Air Show. Dirk Hoke, Airbus Defence and Space Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Eric Trappier, Dassault Aviation Chairman and CEO and Lucio Valerio Cioffi, Leonardo’s Aircraft Division Managing Director, confirmed the commitment of the four European States and Industrial partners to jointly develop a sovereign solution for European Defence and Security. The unveiling came after a definition study launched in September 2016 by the four participating nations Germany, France, Italy and Spain and follows the Declaration of Intent to work together on a European MALE unmanned aerial system signed by the countries in May 2015. “While still a lot of work lies ahead of us, this full scale model represents a first milestone of what Europe can achieve in a high-technology sector if it bundles its industrial strength and know-how ” said Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space. “The MALE RPAS will become an integral part in guaranteeing Europe’s sovereignty in the future. This programme is ideally suited to meet urgent capability requirements of Europe’s armed forces. This innovative partnership also eases the countries’ constrained budgetary situation through clever pooling of research and development funds.” He added.
Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation said that the unveiling reflected the companies’ total dedication to the European Defence and Security sovereignty. Cooperation and high technology legitimate the leadership of the European Industry and guarantee the strategic autonomy of Europe. Innovative programmes through efficient partnerships will serve European competitiveness and will offer new alternatives to the off- the-shelf acquisition of non-European products. Dassault Aviation reaffirmed its full support to Airbus Defence and Space as programme leader of the MALE RPAS.”
“Unmanned technologies and their applications represent one of the key technological foundations for the future evolution of European Defence Industries” said Lucio Valerio Cioffi, Leonardo’s Aircraft Division Managing Director. “The European MALE RPAS is orientated to foster the development of high technologies and will contribute to sustaining key competencies and jobs within Europe providing Armed Forces with an high performance and sovereign operational system” he added.
The MALE RPAS is the first unmanned aerial system designed for flight in non-segregated airspace, its characteristics will include mission modularity for operational superiority in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, both wide area and in-theatre. Entry-into-service of European MALE RPAS is planned for the middle of the next decade.