France, Germany and Italy to strengthen European defence cooperation
European Union/Foreign Affairs (Defence) Council/European MALE RPAS – Joint statement issued by M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Defence, and his German and Italian counterparts¹
Brussels, 18 May 2015
Since 2013, France, Germany and Italy have confirmed their full support for the European Council conclusions relative to the development of a European Medium Altitude Long Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (European MALE RPAS, “Euro-Drone”) in 2025 timeframe.
Our recent engagements on operational theatres [and] political and humanitarian crises near our borders have showed the critical need for Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems with autonomy of use and support.
Following a common proposal by industries from the three countries received mid-2014, and in order to meet the tight calendar objective fixed by European Council, French, German and Italian Defence ministers have declared their common intent to conduct a definition study in order to prepare the development phase of a European MALE RPAS. The main purpose of the study, which is planned to last approximately two years, is to determine a common set of operational requirements together with a related preliminary design responding to clear objectives in terms of performance, timescale and cost, as well as to minimize future development risks
Within the definition study, airworthiness and certification in order to enable operations in the European airspace, as well as the search for competitiveness will be key design drivers for trade-offs.
Upon decision to continue with development and procurement phases, the first system could be delivered by 2025.
Once operational, the system will perform long-endurance intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions with a variety of payloads.
Contract award for the definition study is expected later this year, with OCCAR [Organization for Joint Cooperation in Armaments] managing the programme activities, while EDA support is expected in the areas of air traffic insertion, airworthiness and certification.
France, Germany and Italy would welcome the entry of other European nations in this major European project for the development and procurement phases, leveraging EDA’s support for the enlargement process.
Through this programme consistent with the European Council’s expectations, France, Germany and Italy will strengthen European defence cooperation [and] promote a more competitive defence industry while developing and maintaining European industrial key capabilities./.
¹ Source of English text: French Ministry of Defence.