UV - Unmanned Vehicles

EADS asks Europe to make a choice

12th January 2011 - 16:05 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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EADS chief executive officer Louis Gallois has warned against the existence of two competing MALE (medium altitude low endurance) UAV programmes in Europe while describing his company’s intention to continue development of its self-financed Talarion programme in 2011.

Speaking to the media at an EADS press event in Les Mureaux, France, on 12 January, Gallois demanded that European nations ‘make a choice’ about their future MALE UAV capability.

He referred to November’s Anglo-French government agreement regarding the possibility of a joint UAV project and described how the co-existence of Talarion (the EADS-led Franco-German and Spanish development) and BAE Systems’ Mantis MALE programmes would be a ‘risk’.

One industry source told Unmanned Vehicles that any final decision regarding the potential Anglo-French UAV project was a long way off.

‘The bi-lateral MALE [UAV] programme has yet to be defined and the UK’s Ministry of Defence [MoD] doesn’t know what it will yet entail either. It’s all about joining up a military requirement and a political drive,’ the source said.

EADS confirmed that it had offered up Talarion in response to an invitation to tender from the UK’s MoD for its ‘Scavenger’ ISTAR UAV requirement. The MoD is also understood to be considering General Atomics’ Predator C and Northrop Grumman’s Global Hawk UAV.

In France, Dassault and Thales have offered up the Système de Drone MALE (SDM) while Sagem is also understood to have put forward its Patroller UAV.

‘I shall not go further.  We have to avoid having two MALE programmes [in Europe],’ Gallois argued.

Another industry source told UV that an ‘Airbus for UAVs’ solution, comprising BAE Systems, Dassault Aviation and EADS for example, would be applicable for such a pan-European programme.

Meanwhile, Gallois asked the wider defence industry to embrace more multi-national co-operation in the development of aircraft and UAVs, describing EADS’ intent to form ‘associations’ with competitors especially in regard to targeting markets in ‘emerging countries’.

This, he added, was part of a ‘Three Pillars’ approach to dealing with Europe, emerging countries and the US.

‘We are going to partnership. If we want to sell in Brazil or India, we need to have a partner. We are discussing [this] with a lot of them,’ Gallois said while refusing to reveal specific information on individual companies.

By Andrew White, Paris

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