Rome, 15 July 2021 - In presence of the main MALE RPAS industrial partners (Leonardo S.p.a, Airbus Defence & Space SAU and Dassault Aviation), the OCCAR-EA Director and a senior representative from Airbus Defence & Space GmbH (coordinating company) signed the Grant Agreement to allow European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP) funding from the European Union to partially finance the MEDIUM ALTITUDE LONG ENDURANCE REMOTELY PILOTED AIRCRAFT SYSTEM (MALE RPAS) programme (aka EURODRONE). The EURODROHNE is one of the two European cooperative programmes identified by the European Commission (EC) for direct awards co-funded by the EDIDP. This is an important step in the deepening of the European defence cooperation.
OCCAR is supporting the EC in the management of the EDIDP, a capability test phase of the European Defence Fund (EDF), aiming at promoting defence cooperation among companies and between EU countries to foster innovation and develop state-of-the-art defence technology and products.
The EDF provides the European defence industry with financial support during the research and development phase of new products and key technologies in areas selected at European level. OCCAR’s expertise as the programme management authority and the funds provided from the European Commission will significantly enhance European defence capabilities and are a strong signal of the unity of Europe’s leading defence companies.
The Signature of this EDIDP Grant Agreement for the MALE RPAS Programme concludes a process started in 2017 with the launch of the EDF, created in the frame of the European Defence Action Plan (EDAP). This has happened today, two weeks after the European Commission decided unanimously to kick-start the EDF with its € 1.2 billion envelope for the first year, as well as on the MALE-RPAS direct award, granting € 100 million of the EDIDP funding to this programme.
The OCCAR European MALE RPAS programme provides sovereignty and technological independence as well as unique operational capability to Europe in the field of unmanned aerial surveillance. The Eurodrone is planned to become one of the main pillars of any future combat air system and will offer European industries the opportunity to participate in a large Unmanned Aerial Vehicle programme that is designed to integrate into civil air traffic and operate in non-segregated airspace.
The programme includes development and manufacturing of 20 drone systems, which each contain 3 aircraft and 2 ground control stations. Furthermore it includes Ground Support Equipment, spare parts incl. warehousing, training and 6.5 years initial in-service support.