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On behalf of the EU Commission, OCCAR has signed a €100M grant agreement with industrial partners to jointly develop and manufacture the EURODRONE system. This will be co-financed by the €1.2Bn European Defence Fund (EDF), which the EU Commission kick-started on 2 July 2021. The EURODRONE and the ESSOR project to develop waveforms for software-defined radios are the only projects directly funded by the EDF.

The programme aims to develop and manufacture 20 drone systems. Each consists of three flight units and two ground control stations. It also includes ground support equipment, spare parts including storage, training and operational support for the first 6.5 years.

With the unique capabilities of a UAV, EURODRONE is expected to become one of the main pillars of any future combat aircraft system. The programme aims to provide sovereignty and technological independence. European industry will be given the opportunity to participate in a major programme for UAVs that will integrate with civil air traffic and operate in non-segregated airspace.

On the industry side, the EURODRONE programme is coordinated by Airbus Defence and Space. Other significant industrial partners include Leonardo and Dassault Aviation.

Gerhard Heiming