ISSN 2330-717X

Defence Mission Systems Champions Team Up For European MALE Drone Program

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Four European Champions in the area of Defence Mission Systems intend to combine their unique and complementary capabilities to provide the MALE (Medium Altitude, Long Endurance) drone programme of France, Germany, Italy and Spain – designated European MALE RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft System) – with a future-proof ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance) function.

The companies Elettronica, Hensoldt, Indra and Thales have signed a memorandum of agreement, in compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, confirming their common goal to offer a coherent ISTAR functional chain for the MALE RPAS comprising all elements from sensors and computing through data processing and communications. The team is open to cooperation with other companies.

The four companies will bring their experience and technology leadership in Defence electronics and mission systems into the joint approach, thereby substantially reducing the inherent risk of such challenging programme. This will safeguard the target-oriented implementation in time and cost while guaranteeing the growth potential required to address future tasks.

“The future operating environment of Air Forces will bring a variety of flying platforms into one force-multiplying network”, said Hensoldt-CEO Thomas Müller. “The close cooperation of the various platforms’ mission systems is paramount to leverage the advantage of such highly complex network. Therefore, the architecture of the new RPAS mission system must be in the hands of the subject-matter experts from the start, tailoring its development irrespective of single platform aspects.”

“Thales, Hensoldt, Elettronica and Indra, have big ambitions based on a shared vision of the digital transformation of their industries and customers. Thales will be using its expertise in Defence Mission Systems mastering four key digital technologies of Connectivity, Big Data, AI, and Cybersecurity. We offer our clients decisive technologies to take the best decision in real time.” said Patrice Caine, Chairman and CEO at Thales.

“We are building industrial cooperation in Europe and preparing for a future in which Defence investments will be mainly performed at European level. This alliance will pave the way for future large programmes currently being defined in Europe” said Ignacio Mataix, Executive Director at Indra.

“Our long term experience in collaboration programmes and our mindset will be beneficial in terms of risk reduction and full capability achievement. The teaming with our historical European partners will lead to a high level of success” said Enzo Benigni, Chairman and CEO of Elettronica.

The European MALE RPAS programme is managed by the European procurement agency OCCAR. A Definition Study contract was signed on 26 August 2016 with the European aircraft manufacturers Airbus Defence and Space, Dassault and Leonardo. The Development Phase is expected to be launched in 2019.


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