Europe’s unmanned future

The US military may lead the world when it comes to unmanned aviation , but Europe is keen not to be left behind when it comes to this game-changing technology. In the 16 April issue of Flight International, we look at two key UAV projects on this side of the Atlantic.

The first is the UK’s Watchkeeper programme, which replaces ageing Phoenix battlefield reconnaissance vehicles with the much more robust and sophisticated Thales-designed system. Craig Hoyle checks out the progress of this much-delayed acquisition. In our cover story,

Dominic Perry also assesses the impact of the Neuron unmanned combat air vehicle demonstrator, led by France’s Dassault Aviation, but involving manufacturers from six European nations. Does the Neuron project - and the learning it represents - provide the first step to a future European unmanned warplane?

Other than the USA, Israel is the other leader in UAV technology. At the other end of the scale is a micro-surveillance craft, the size of a butterfly and inspired by the flying motion of insects. Our Israeli correspondent Arie Egozi takes a close look.

Elsewhere in the issue, we report from the LAAD defence show in Rio de Janeiro where the ambitions of both the Brazilian government to raise its capability in defence, and those of its national champion Embraer to become a global force in the sector were behind most of the news. Stephen Trimble was there to report.

We also have the highlights from the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg and analysis of the US defence budget, as well as updates on the CSeries and A350 first flights.



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