A European First: Successful First Flight of the Neuron Demonstrator
(Source: French defence procurement agency, DGA; issued Dec. 1, 2012)
(Issued in French only; unofficial translation by defense-aerospace.com)
Not an X-47B: Neuron, the unmanned combat air vehicle demonstrator developed by Dassault with partners from five European countries, made its maiden flight Dec. 1. (Dassault photo)
The Neuron stealth UCAV demonstrator successfully made its first flight today.

The demonstrator, the size of a fighter aircraft, took off from Istres, in southern France. It was operated by a team from Dassault Aviation. Technical experts from the DGA had previously taken control of the airspace where Neuron was due to fly, so as to ensure that test flights are conducted safely vis-à-vis other aircraft in the area as well ensuring full compliance with air traffic regulations.

This first flight is a major milestone in this ambitious project, and paves the way for flight test campaigns that the aircraft will carry out in Italy, Sweden and France. These tests are intended to demonstrate the flying qualities of the platform, but also to assess its stealth and combat capabilities.

DGA provides overall project management of the project since its launch in 2006. It is the result of European cooperation led by France, with Dassault Aviation as prime contractor, and five partner countries and their industrial partners: Italy (Alenia Aermacchi), Sweden (Saab), Spain (EADS-Casa), Greece (HAI) and Switzerland (Ruag).

Financed by Ministry of Defence’s budget for preliminary research, Neuron marks a major research and technology effort to prepare the future and to maintain essential industrial skills and know-how. It leads in the next generation of combat aircraft, both manned and unmanned, and aims at preserving and securing European autonomy in this key area. It is a major challenge both industrially and technologically. (ends)

Neuron Makes Its Maiden Flight
(Source: Dassault Aviation; issued December 1, 2012)
ISTRES, France --- Today, the Neuron, Europe’s unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) stealth technology demonstrator, successfully completed its maiden flight from the Dassault Aviation company’s flight test base in Istres, in collaboration with the flight test personnel of the French defense procurement agency (DGA).

The Neuron programme was launched in 2005 by the customer, DGA, and involves France, Italy, Sweden, Spain, Greece and Switzerland. It defines a future for the aeronautic excellence of Europe.

With Dassault Aviation as prime contractor, the program was designed to pool the skills and know-how of Alenia Aermacchi (Italy), Saab (Sweden), EADS-CASA (Spain), HAI (Greece), RUAG (Switzerland) and Thales (France).

With a length of 10 meters, a wingspan of 12.5 meters and an empty weight of 5 metric tonnes, the aircraft is powered by a Rolls-Royce Turbomeca Adour engine.

The Neuron will continue to undergo testing in France until 2014, at which time it will be sent to Vidsel in Sweden for a series of operational trials. It will then go to the Perdadesfogu range (Italy) for further tests, in particular firing and stealth measurements.


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