The European Mid-Altitude and Long-Endurance (MALE) drone has reached a new milestone with the completion of the preliminary design review on 22 November 2018. This major success comes after the launch by the Joint Armament Cooperation Organization (OCCAR) on 31 October 2018 of a call for tenders for the development, production and initial phase of operational maintenance of the program.
This new step will enable partner nations and industry to commence the development of the system with harmonized specifications and a clear vision of its overall design.
Designated as future contractor, Airbus Defense and Space will coordinate the industrial response to the tender with the main subcontractors: Airbus Defense and Space, Dassault Aviation SA and Leonardo.
This call for tenders demonstrates the willingness of the partner nations (France, Germany, Italy and Spain) to continue the program after an extremely successful phase of alignment of requirements and a convincing demonstration of the quality and from the adequacy of the proposed design to the intended use, one assures the side of the industrialists.
The preliminary design review of the system successfully concludes the two-year definition study launched in September 2016 by the partner nations. Three of them signed a declaration of intent in May 2015 for the joint development of a European MALE drone system. Spain joined the program in 2016.
Designed for flight in non-segregated airspace, its characteristics will include mission modularity for operational superiority in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, both wide area and in-theatre. The Participating States’ agreed on the air vehicle configuration in mid-2017, selecting a twin-turboprop propulsion system.
By the middle of the next decade the MALE RPAS will be operated worldwide to perform Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions.