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European partners complete future MALE RPAS initial definition phase

World Aviation Defense & Security News - OCCAR
European partners complete future MALE RPAS initial definition phase
After an intensive 10 months trade-off period, the European MALE RPAS (Medium Altitude Long Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft System) Co-Contracting Group (CCG) – Airbus Defence and Space, Dassault Aviation and Leonardo s.p.a. – provided a substantial set of data that allowed the Participating States (France, Germany, Italy and Spain) to agree on the basic remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) configuration and several main design drivers for the system.
European Partners complete future MALE RPAS initial definition phase 640 001With the choice for a twin-turboprop configuration, the Italy-made Piaggio P.1HH HammerHead might be leveraged for the European MALE RPAS program
(Credit: Piaggio Aerospace) 
This definition phase mainly focused on common operational capabilities, top-level technical requirements, overall system, design, and the future MALE RPAS development and production effort.

The selected twin engine turbo-prop configuration will be the basis for further trade-off studies until the upcoming Systems Requirements Review (SRR). Under the lead of the OCCAR, the Participating States and CCG will prepare the development phase of a MALE-class RPA system during the year following the SRR.

With this initial study phase now complete, the official development phase would start in 2018, with a prototype first flight in early 2023 and delivery of the first system by 2025.

According to Airbus DS, the RPAS' operational functions will include ground and maritime surveillance, daytime or infrared target reconnaissance and identification, operations support, integration in C4I (Command, Control, Communication, Computer and Intelligence), as well as integration in air traffic.