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Europe’s nEUROn UCAV demonstrator makes its maiden flight


December 2, 2012

The nEUROn Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) demonstrator on its maiden flight

The nEUROn Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) demonstrator on its maiden flight

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The European designed nEUROn Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) demonstrator successfully completed its maiden flight on December 1, 2012. The flight took place at Dassault Aviation’s flight test base in Istres in southern France and marks a milestone for the nEUROn program that was launched in 2005 by the French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA) that involves the collaboration of six European countries.

Measuring 9.2 m (30 ft) long and boasting a wingspan of 12.5 m (41 ft), the stealth technology demonstrator is the first large size stealth platform designed in Europe. It has an empty weight of 5 tons (4.5 tonnes) and a maximum weight of 7 tons (6.3 tonnes). Powered by a Rolls-Royce Turbomeca “Adour” engine, the nEUROn can fly for three hours and reach a maximum speed of Mach 0.8.

With the aim of the program to develop expertise in advanced aeronautics amongst the participating countries and industries, the aircraft itself isn’t intended for serial production, but will be used to test various technologies for future UAVs and UCAVs, including Saab’s next-generation Gripen.

France’s Dassault Aviation is serving as the nEUROn program’s prime contractor, with involvement from Alenia Aermacchi (Italy), Saab (Sweden), EADS-CASA (Spain), Hellenic Aerospace Industry (Greece), RUAG (Switzerland), and Thales (France).

Testing in France will continue until 2014, when it will be transferred to Vidsel in Sweden for a series of operational trials. It will then move onto Italy’s Perdadesfogu range for further testing focused on firing and stealth capabilities.

Sources: Saab, Dassault Aviation

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

Hmmm.... This drone looks a lot like the one the Iranians shot down or came down some how.. I wonder if it could have been theirs and not ours..

Just a thought....

S Michael

As a french, I'm ashamed about this... This "drone" would not be operational until........... 2032 or 20..... !!!!!

Poor little European armies.... :(

Comme on dit en français : " LAMENTABLE " !

Eric Drakar

the first model was shown in 2005. Europe have great engineers two, and iran is not in Europe ;)


Whatever happened to the british Taranis drone?

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