French Minister Says Eurodrone Too Expensive, Announces New Projects
(Source: compiled by; posted June 18, 2019)
PARIS --- French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly has warned the international industry group that is developing the Eurodrone medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft that the program will not be pursued unless they reduce their financial ambitions. Below are selected excerpts from the minister’s opening speech at the Paris Air Show.

“I would like to say a few words about the Eurodrone project that is particularly dear to me, because it is the symbol of the strategic autonomy that we want to acquire, and for which we have an imperative requirement.”

“But -- and the manufacturers know it – I have to say that this program will only be able to be completed if the drone they offer is competitive. It’s not only an issue for the buyers already involved – France, Germany, Italy and Spain – but also for future export customers. A period of intense negotiations is opening, and I hope we will be in a position to announce some good news together by the end of the year.”

The four countries have tasked an industry team comprising Airbus, Dassault Aviation and Leonardo with preparing an offer for the full-scale development of Eurodrone, and it was expected that the contract could be awarded by year-end. The drone is due to fly in 2026.

“Our SMEs are talented and we need to show that. I wanted the creation of a label "used by the French Forces” so that our companies can officially avail themselves of the use of their products by our forces. A real international asset,” says Florence Parly.

France to order three ELINT aircraft by year-end

By the end of this year, we will launch the development and acquisition of three Dassault Aviation Falcon 8X [business jets], fitted with a sensor package that has been under development by Thales for the past ten years. Beginning in 2025, these aircraft will replace the C-160 Transall Gabriel electronic intelligence aircraft, thus reinforcing our electromagnetic intelligence capabilities, and will contribute to our forces’ “know and anticipate”

Order in 2020 for 7 ‘Albatross’ maritime surveillance aircraft

Mastering airspace is not only a question of air dominance, it also means close surveillance of the sea. The order for the Navy’s new surveillance and intervention aircraft, scheduled for 2020, is being prepared, and will initially cover seven Falcon 2000 LXS developed and produced by Dassault Aviation. This program, which I am today pleased to name ‘Albatross,’ will reinforce the Navy’s aviation capabilities.

Two-year study for MAWS Maritime Patrol Aircraft

In our cooperation with Germany, we are also advancing on the project of the future MAWS (Maritime Airborne Warfare System) maritime patrol aircraft, which is intended to renew the maritime patrol capabilities of the German and French navies by 2030. For France, it will replace the Atlantic 2 and for Germany, the P-3 Orion. Common projects of course mean common needs.

We have therefore agreed with Germany to award to the manufacturers a two-year study to identify the common requirements of the French and German navies, and to submit different architectures. This study will also provide us with the technical and financial elements necessary to select the architecture that will determine how to continue our cooperation for the development and production phases.

All these emerging perspectives, all these projects that flourish and the enthusiasm of the teams involved give me full confidence in our future ability to control the airspace.


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