EADS has received a €60 million ($88 million) risk-reduction contract for Europe's Advanced unmanned air vehicle initiative, which will demonstrate the feasibility of a modular family of surveillance UAVs for the French, German and Spanish militaries.

Awarded by Germany's BWB procurement agency on 11 December, the 15-month deal will see EADS Defence & Security head a multinational project also involving the company's Defence Electronics business unit, plus Indra and Thales, who will jointly develop a synthetic aperture radar payload for the programme's modular airframes.

The larger of the Advanced UAV designs - which are likely to use common fuselage and propulsion systems but different wings - would be used for high-altitude surveillance tasks, while the smaller could perform target acquisition and battle damage assessment work currently conducted using the German air force's Panavia Tornado ECR reconnaissance aircraft, says EADS.

 Advanced UAV

"The concept of a modular family of next-generation UAVs provides us an opportunity to efficiently cover the capability requirements of three programme nations with one common platform and flexible ground stations," says EADS Military Air Systems chief executive Bernhard Gerwert. "We are offering a common, cost-efficient and capable solution."

EADS says further countries could still join the Advanced UAV programme, with Turkey recently having voiced interest in the initiative. The new risk-reduction phase is expected to finalise air vehicle configurations, and inform subsequent funding and schedule decisions across the partner nations.

Meanwhile, sources close to the EADS-led Agile networked UAV demonstration say the company has received the green light to launch project activities on behalf of the Finnish and German defence ministries. The BWB-led programme is expected to use EADS's Barracuda design to test the potential of using unmanned combat air vehicles during future operations.


Source: FlightGlobal.com