Avio Aero Bid Chosen for Europe New Drone Engine

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US owned corporation chosen as successful bid, but critics suggest it is not a viable solution for the ‘Eurodrone’ Aircraft.

This past Friday Airbus, the prime contractor for the new ‘Eurodrone’ project chose Avio Aero as the winner to make the engines behind the new jet-sized drone project. The engine named “Catalyst” was described as “the best solution based on superior performance… as well as growth potential,” by Jean-Brice Dumont, Head of Military Aircraft at Airbus Defence and Space.

The mega drone is expected to have a 98-foot wingspan, seen by many as the future of airspace warfare is set to be obtained by France, Spain, Germany, and Italy when it is ready for full use. This was noted as a key in the decision to choose Avio as the supplier over its competitors “aspects in the selection of Eurodrone suppliers are competitiveness, performance, the ability to meet the demanding delivery schedule, and the capacity to meet the in-service demand,”. With an already long timeline for this development meeting deadlines will be a critical for the success of the project.

The decision by Airbus did not come without criticism as some believed that there were better European options available for Airbus to choose from. Avio beat European competition from France’s Safran Helicopter Engines, which offered its Ardiden 3PT engine. Many felt the jet was an opportunity to show of the European Union’s ability to provide high-tech defense products.

Dumont addressed those complaints: “The Catalyst is an engine proven in flight, entirely developed and manufactured in Europe.”

The finalized Eurodrone will have over 20 systems and be able to do low and medium altitude runs with long-range capabilities. Time will tell whether Airbus made the right decision as the first prototype is not expected for half a decade.