France, Germany and Italy issued a joint statement to confirm their support for the implementation of MALE (Medium Altitude Long Endurance) drone by 2025.
The joint proposal was issued by the defense ministers of the three nations, French Jean-Yves Le Drian, German Ursula Von Der Leyen and Italian Roberta Pinotti and has officially announced to jointly conduct a developmental phase study of the drone.
The study will last for a couple of years and will involve operational prerequisites to develop prototypes so as to assess performance, time and price.
Based on the plan for development and acquisition phases, the first drone can be operational by 2025. The drone will have to meet operation requirement for long range endurance, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
The contract will be issued later this year with OCCAR and European Defense Agency (EDA) as part of program management and certification. The EDA will provide support for air traffic insertion and airworthiness.
Other European countries can also be included during the development and acquisition phases.