Military and Strategic Journal
Issued by the Directorate of Morale Guidance at the General Command of the Armed Forces
United Arab Emirates
Founded in August 1971


Work on the European MALE RPAS Commences

The air system will be used for armed ISTAR missions
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 was recently launched by a kick-off meeting chaired by the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) with the attendance of participating states France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
MALE RPAS will be a new generation remotely piloted air system for armed Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions. Air traffic integration and certification for European densely populated environment are part of the key distinctive objectives of the programme.
The two-year definition study started from September 2016 and will be jointly executed by Airbus Defence and Space, Dassault Aviation and Leonardo-Finmeccanica Aircraft 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.
Operational requirements of the nations will be defined in close cooperation with the Armed Forces.
“Successfully teaming European nations, industries and defense ministries to improve sovereignty and independence is an outstanding mission, and marks a new milestone in this innovative partnership” said Dirk Hoke, Chief Executive Officer of Airbus Defence and Space.
“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” added Eric Trappier, Dassault Aviation Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
“The European Male RPAS programme is a unique opportunity to promote the development of high technologies expertise, capabilities and jobs, of fundamental importance within Europe. Technological and operational sovereignty will be delivered to Nations, relying on the experience of decades of European cooperation in military programmes,” said Filippo Bagnato, Leonardo-Finmeccanica Aircraft Division Managing Director.
Fostering Development
Previously known as MALE 2020 Project, the European MALE RPAS Project foresees the development of an European Unmanned Aerial System for long-range missions at medium flight altitudes (MALE). Besides being an answer to the European armed forces’ requirements, it will take into account the need to optimise budgetary resources through pooling of research and development funding. With a European development, critical requirements around the certification of drones and sovereignty of operations by Armed Forces are inherently built into the programme from the onset. The European MALE RPAS is orientated to foster the development of high technologies and will contribute to sustaining key competencies and jobs within Europe.

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