In order to reach a deal on a common ‘medium-altitude, long-endurance’ (MALE) program, Frank Pace, president of General Atomics’ aircraft systems group said General Atomics envisions a European Reaper users’ group, partially funded by General Atomics, which could decide on common software and mounting European systems.
Lockheed Martin did something similar with five European F-16 users, improving interoperability and common standards.
Defense News reports that Airbus Defence and Space, Dassault Aviation and Alenia Aermacchi delivered the MALE 2020 Unmanned Aerial System proposal to the Ministries of Defence in France, Germany and Italy. The offer proposes a Definition Phase, backed by an industrial agreement on workshare and a cooperative agreement to start the MALE 2020 program”.
At the Berlin Air Show three European firms, Airbus Defence and Space, Dassault Aviation and Alenia Aermacchi, announced a workshare agreement on the MALE 2020 program. The three firms are hoping to get commitments from capitals by the end of 2014, according to the Alenia source, who explained:
“The issues at stake include European operational sovereignty and independence in the management of information and intelligence as well as European industrial independence in sustaining key competencies and jobs within Europe. This is not possible with a non-European made UAV”.
Airforce technology adds that Airbus Defence and Space CEO Bernhard Gerwert said the companies have reached an important milestone for the European MALE drone development with the proposal and are looking forward to launching the first step shortly.
The finalisation of the definition phase is expected to be followed by a commitment from the governments to proceed, with the aim of having an affordable and certifiable solution ready by 2020. No reference has been made to arming the drones.