France expects to see a deal on developing a joint European military drone project signed this year.
SpaceWar quoted an official in Defence Minister Florence Parly’s office as saying that they are quite optimistic about this project.
The Eurodrone venture which involves France, Germany, Italy and Spain was announced in 2015 as a means to reduce European nation’s reliance on American-made Reaper drones. Airbus, the pan-European plane builder will be the lead manufacturer for the planned medium-altitude, long-range vehicle, with France’s Dassault Aviation and Italy’s Leonardo also participating.
The four governments have set a target budget of 7.1 billion euros ($8.4 billion) to acquire 63 Eurodrones, spread over three operating systems. They aim to have each drone cost approximately 160 million euros, well below the 200 million euros per Reaper, with each flight-hour costing 3,000 euros instead of 4,000 for the US rival.
If it is successful this year, the first Eurodrone system would be delivered to Germany in 2027, and to France in 2028.