As defense budgets around the world take a downward spiral, Europe's top three defense contractors today issued a statement pleading to help build a European medium altitude drone.
In a press release sent out simulatenously in Paris, Munich and Turin, the continent’s three defense giants —EADS, Dassault Aviation and Finmeccanica — virtually begged their governments for assistance.
“Such a joint program would support the capability needs of European armed forces while optimizing the difficult budgetary situation through pooling of research and development funding,” they said.
Germany last month canceled plans to buy five Euro Hawks, jointly developed by EADS and Northrop Grumman of the United States citing budgetary concerns.
In 2012, NATO recognized the need for UAVs and decided to buy five Global Hawks. If you see the list of countries expected to buy the Alliance Ground Surveillance System — Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United States — you will note that none of the countries who issued the MALE statement are included, according to breakingdefense.com.
The three companies, added, “European sovereignty and independence in the management of information and intelligence would be guaranteed.”
The companies also said they would design in to the aircraft technologies that would answer the problem that has bedeviled drone makers here and in the US — the ability to convince policymakers that they are safe flying around in the same airspace as civilian planes with lots of people sitting in them.
The new drone — if any money should be forthcoming — would be designed from the get go to allow “their safe passage and operation in European air space,” the statement says.