EADS has received a €60 million ($88 million) risk-reduction contract for Europe's Advanced unmanned air vehicle initiative. The contact will demonstrate the feasibility of a modular family of surveillance UAVs for the French, German and Spanish militaries.
Awarded by Germany's BWB procurement agency, the 15-month deal will see EADS defence & security head a multinational project that will also involve the company's defence electronics business unit, along with Indra and Thales.
The last two companies will jointly develop a synthetic aperture radar payload for the programme's modular airframes.
The larger of the Advanced UAV designs would be used for high-altitude surveillance tasks, while the smaller could perform target acquisition and battle damage assessment work currently performed by the German air force's Panavia Tornado ECR reconnaissance aircraft, says EADS. The UAVs are likely to use common fuselage and propulsion systems but different wings.
"The concept of a modular family of next-generation UAVs provides us an opportunity to efficiently cover the capability requirements of three programme nations with one common platform and flexible ground stations," says EADS military air systems chief executive Bernhard Gerwert. "We are offering a common, cost-efficient and capable solution."
The new risk-reduction phase is expected to finalise air vehicle configurations, and inform subsequent funding and schedule decisions across the partner nations.