Sweden wants 25% of French-led Neuron programme

Sweden is seeking a quarter of the workshare in the Dassault-led Neuron European unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) programme. Saab - Sweden's principal aerospace manufacturer - expects to complete negotiations with Dassault by the end of the year.

Under the proposal, Saab would provide high-level input into the design and development of Neuron's low-observable features, manufacture of airframe sections, and avionics system design. Saab also wants to play a major role in testing and evaluation of the Neuron demonstrator, including flight trials.

"Sweden is looking at maybe a partnership of 25% in the Neuron programme," says Saab chief executive Ake Svensson.

Funding will be directed via the Swedish FMV procurement authority, but Svensson says Saab will also continue its existing investment in UCAV technology and new-generation low-observable unmanned air vehicles.

"We are ready to continue to put our own money also into this area, because I think it is an important area, especially if you think a little broader about it and the autonomy of systems that may be applicable also to command and control systems on the ground," he says.

Saab revealed at Farnborough that it has built and flown a half-scale version of its Filur UCAV demonstrator. The air vehicle was built in conjunction with the University of Linkoping.

The half-scale demonstrator has a wingspan of about 1m (3ft) and retains most of the Filur flying-wing airframe configuration. However, images of the air vehicle appear to show a low tail section, possibly added to improve aerodynamic control. Saab says the demonstrator is being used to test airframe performance and flight-control system requirements.

The full-scale Filur vehicle would be 2.2m long, have a 2.5m span, and an all-up weight of 55kg (120lb). The vehicle will be powered by an AMT Olympus 210N turbojet.

Saab also says its tactical UAV development programme should result in a flying demonstrator by mid-2007.

Source: Flight International