Finland’s defence force is exploring participation in international unmanned air vehicle development projects ahead of a €100 million ($122 million) air force and army requirement for a new reconnaissance system.

Collaboration will be examined over the next two years by a Patria-led consortium – also including Instrumentointi, Robonic, TietoEnator and Finland’s military research agency – which last month delivered a preliminary assessment of future UAV technologies and the capability of Finnish industry.

Finland wants to acquire the new UAV system between 2010 and 2015 under a requirement in its 2004 defence white paper. The army wants a high-speed, deep-penetration capability, while the air force is interested in a medium- or high-altitude long-endurance system for targeting and battle-damage assessment tasks.

The programme’s study phase will assess international efforts including the EADS-led Euromale and Carapas programmes and the Dassault-led Neuron unmanned combat air vehicle demonstrator. This could also include demonstrations in Finland or another country by late 2007, says Robonic managing director Juha Moisio.

Study-phase work packages are now being defined to narrow the armed forces’ requirements, examine potential concepts of operation and analyse individual platforms and payloads.

Source: Flight International