Swedish approval charges Neuron

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Europe’s Dassault-led Neuron unmanned combat air vehicle demonstrator programme achieved its formal launch late last month, after the Swedish government granted its delayed approval for national participation in the project by Saab.

Worth SKr750 million ($95 million), Stockholm’s delayed commitment had pushed the launch of the €400 million ($470 million) Neuron project back by around six months while the country’s Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) conducted a review into the cost effectiveness of funding an alternative research programme.

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Some SKr600 million of the Swedish investment will be made by Saab, with the Swedish government having pledged to later reinvest the same amount of money on long-term development activities linked to the company’s JAS39 Gripen programme. The FMV will provide the remaining funds for Sweden’s Neuron demonstrator effort.

To involve flight tests from 2010, the Neuron project has now secured state and industry involvement from France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

CRAIG HOYLE/LONDON