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First flight for Eurodrone prototype scheduled for January 2027

The European defense project Eurodrone has passed a preliminary design review, Airbus confirmed last week. The review was originally planned for September 2023.

In addition to physical tests of aerodynamics and operational capability, a digital twin was also included in the review, Airbus said. The project developed by Germany, Spain, Italy and France can now enter the final phase of planning — the critical design review.

“Performing the Preliminary Design Review for the development of Eurodrone represents an important step forward for this key European defense program,” said Jean-Brice Dumont, head of Air Power at Airbus Defense and Space.

According to the German Ministry of Defense, the delayed schedule has already led to additional costs of around 1.4 billion euros (1.5 billion U.S. dollars). This was caused by coordination problems between the main contractor Airbus Defense and Space and the French company Dassault.

The project, fully called Medium Altitude Long Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (MALE RPAS), is intended to make Europe autonomous in building unmanned aerial systems. It is expected to be used in intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance missions. The drone, with a planned wingspan of almost 30 meters, will also be capable of carrying weapons in the future.

The first flight of the Eurodrone prototype is scheduled for January 2027. Delivery of the first aircraft and ground control station for Germany is planned for April 2030, according to the country’s latest armaments report. (1 euro = 1.09 U.S. dollar) ■

Famagusta Gazette