Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

European Firms Want a Drone of Their Own ; Consortium Says Move Would Reduce Reliance on U.S. and Israeli Planes

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

European Firms Want a Drone of Their Own ; Consortium Says Move Would Reduce Reliance on U.S. and Israeli Planes

Article excerpt

The proposal, a joint effort of EADS, Dassault Aviation and Finmeccanica, is intended to reduce dependence on U.S. and Israeli manufacturers.

Three of Europe's top military contractors urged the region's governments on Sunday to support a joint program to develop a reconnaissance drone to reduce dependence on American and Israeli manufacturers.

In a joint statement, European Aeronautic Defense & Space, the parent company of Airbus, along with Dassault Aviation of France and Finmeccanica of Italy, said a regional collaboration in unmanned aerial vehicles would "support the capability needs of European armed forces while optimizing the difficult budgetary situation through pooling of research and development funding."

Governments across the European Union have slashed spending on weapons programs in recent years as the war in Afghanistan winds down and pressure builds to rein in ballooning public deficits. Recent interventions in Libya and Mali, meanwhile, have exposed a significant gap in Europe's aerial capabilities, particularly in terms of reconnaissance and combat drones, refueling tankers and heavy transport aircraft.

After years of pitching competing programs to reluctant governments, the three companies said Sunday that they were prepared to work together to design a European medium-altitude, long- endurance, or MALE, drone, which can fly missions of up to 48 hours at elevations of between 10,000 and 30,000 feet, or between about 3,000 and 9,000 meters. While they are normally used for surveillance, such unmanned vehicles can be equipped with missiles for combat.

"European sovereignty and independence in the management of information and intelligence would be guaranteed" by such a program, the companies said on the eve of the weeklong Paris Air Show, which opens Monday. They added that an effort on a European scale would "foster the development of high technologies and contribute to sustaining key competencies and jobs within Europe."

Notably absent from the group was BAE Systems of Britain, Europe's biggest military contractor, which had been a partner with Dassault Aviation to develop a MALE drone for France and Britain. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.