The contract for the definition study of the European MALE RPAS (Medium Altitude Long Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft System) Programme, assigned to Airbus, Dassault Aviation and Leonardo-Finmeccanica has been launched at a kick-off meeting chaired by the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR).
The two-year definition study starts from September 2016. It will be jointly executed by Airbus Defence and Space, Dassault Aviation and Leonardo-Finmeccanica ircraft Division with an equal work allocation. The three companies are co-contractors to perform the definition study.
Following the study, the start of the development phase is planned for 2018, with a prototype first flight in early 2023 and a first delivery of the system in the 2025 timeframe.
MALE RPAS will be a new generation remotely piloted air system for armed Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions with France, Germany, Italy and Spain as the programme participating States.
“This cooperative programme will contribute to European Industry leadership and autonomy in the strategic field of surveillance drones and will provide Armed Forces with high performance and sovereign operational systems” emphasized Eric Trappier, Dassault Aviation Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
Previously known as MALE 2020 Project, the European MALE RPAS Project foresees the development of a European Unmanned Aerial System for long-range missions at medium flight altitudes.