Dassault today announced completing first flight of the Neuron, an unmanned combat air vehicle developed among six European partners.

The 5t-class stealth technology demonstrator powered by the Rolls-Royce Turbomeca Adour engine was flown from Istres, the flight test base of prime contractor Dassault.

Dassault has not released further details about the maiden flight. The Neuron was scheduled to achieve first flight in mid-year, but was delayed.

 Neuron flight 1


The aircraft will continue to be tested in France until 2014 when it moves to Vidsel, Sweden for operational trials, and, finally, to the Perdasdefogu range in Sardinia, Italy to measure stealth characteristics and perform air-to-surface weapon releases from its internal weapons bay.

The Neuron programme was developed with Dassault, Italy's Alenia Aermacchi, Sweden's Saab, Spain's EADS-CASA, Greece's HAI, Switzerland's RUAG and France's Thales.

 Neuron flight 2


The Neuron joins at least two other flying, unmanned stealth aircraft, and the first produced in Europe.

The US military is flying the Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel in operations and is testing the Northrop Grumman X-47B. Boeing has retired the Phantom Ray, a derivative of the X-45C that once competed with the X-47B.

BAE Systems, meanwhile, has plans to achieve first flight of the Taranis unmanned stealth demonstrator in early 2013.

Source: Flight International