Germany, Spain, Italy and France are working together on the Euro drone, a medium altitude long endurance (MALE) remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS).
The Euro drone should primarily meet the requirements of airborne imaging, signaling, reconnaissance and surveillance. It will have electro-optical sensors as well as infra-red and radar, and will be used to support ground troops with high precision and speed of reaction.
The multinational drone project, planned for several years, has received German government financing, and contracts between the four partner nations should be signed by the middle of this year. Overall management of the project is held by the Organization Conjointe de Coopération en Matière d’Armement (OCCAR), or Joint Organization for Armaments Cooperation). The project is also part of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) of the European Commission.
“The industrial contract does not include arming the Euro drone,” stated the German party coalition that approved the funding. The Federal Ministry of Defense emphasized that development and production will mainly take place in Germany. Airbus is envisioned to be the prime contractor. The first Euro drones can probably be delivered in 2029.
With a planned purchase of 21 units, Germany is currently the largest buyer of the new reconnaissance drone. The Bundeswehr currently uses the Israeli Heron 1 system for airborne imaging reconnaissance and surveillance. The more powerful Heron TP will replace it in the future, until the Euro drone takes over.