The European MALE RPAS has been revealed at the ILA Berlin Air Show on 26 April during a sound and light show accompanied by clouds of dry ice.
The air vehicle configuration was decided in mid-2017 and has been revealed as a twin-engine design with pusher six-bladed propellers and a high T-tail.
It appears similar to but larger than the BAE Systems Mantis. The full-scale model sports a prominent EO sensor under the bulbous forward fuselage.
The full-scale model of a European MALE, previously known as MALE 2020, is intended for service entry in the mid-2020s.
The four partner nations – Germany, France, Italy and Spain – began a definition study in September 2016 following a declaration of intent to cooperate in May 2015.
No decision has yet been made on a site or sites for manufacture or workshare between participating companies Airbus Defence and Space, Dassault Aviation and Leonardo.
The model represents ‘a first milestone of what Europe can achieve in a high-technology sector if it bundles its industrial strength and know-how,’ said Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space during ILA.
The partners hope the European MALE project will be a model for how to work together on the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) fighter aircraft project.
‘It will be a different mode of working than the Eurofighter or A400M projects,’ Hoke said.
The second phase began with a system requirements review, which was completed in early 2018 and will lead to a system preliminary design review.
This will define such things as the choice of engine and other options, such as weapons and should be complete by the end of 2018.
Although primarily intended as a surveillance platform, the RPAS will have a weaponised option Hoke said.
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