The European OCCAR organisation has signed a grant agreement with Airbus Defence & Space that will allow European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP) funding from the European Union for the planned Eurodrone remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS).
Announcing the move in a July 15 release, OCCAR said that partial financing would now be available for the Eurodrone programme, which is intended to deliver a medium altitude, long endurance (MALE) RPAS into service with a number of European militaries. The initial EDIDP award was valued at €37m.
OCCAR is supporting the European Commission in the management of the EDIDP, a capability test phase of the European Defence Fund (EDF), aiming at promoting defence cooperation among companies and between EU countries.
The EDF provides the European defence industry with financial support during the research and development phase of new products and key technologies in areas selected at European level. The signature of the EDIDP grant agreement for the MALE RPAS programme concludes a process started in 2017 with the launch of the EDF.
The signing occurred two weeks after the European Commission decided to kick-start the EDF with a €1.2bn funding package for the first year, as well as the MALE-RPAS direct award, granting €100m of the EDIDP funding to the programme.
It is anticipated that the Eurodrone programme will see the development and manufacture of 20 systems in total, each comprised of three Eurodrone RPAS and two ground control stations. In addition, six-and-a-half years of in-service support will be provided.