Spain is to join the Franco-German project to develop a large, advanced unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance missions. Spanish representatives signed a technical arrangement agreement on 18 July, in the risk-reduction phase.
In the next few weeks, the parties will jointly sign a contract with EADS, the French Délégation Générale pour l'Armement (DGA) said in a statement on 25 July. The contract will "define a technical solution answering the needs of the three nations to mitigate the major technical, financial and time schedule risks". Apart from the French, German and Spanish parts of EADS, Indra of Spain and Thales of France, will also be parties to the agreement.
The government agreement is the first step towards the European ISTAR UAV program, which is open to other European partners. It will provide a vital capability by the middle of the next decade. The programme will contribute to developing a European capability for advanced UAV systems.
The advanced UAV project is a successor to the moribund EuroMALE, which was supposed to have brought together EADS and Dassault in a surveillance UAV project. However, it failed to get off the ground. France and Germany signed the technical arrangement during the 47th Paris Air Show last month.