09 August 2021
by Alessandra Giovanzanti
Italy seeks to invest EUR1.8 billion (USD2.1 billion) through 2035 in the European Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance (MALE) Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS), also known as Eurodrone programme, under plans disclosed in the country's latest multiyear planning document (Documento Programmatico Pluriennale: DPP) for 2021–23.
Italy is part of the European MALE RPAS/Eurodrone project alongside Germany, France, and Spain. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)
The DPP, released on 5 August, states that the Italian Ministry of Defence plans to invest EUR1.9 billion foreseen over a 15-year period (including EUR30.1 million residual from 2020) to fund development, acquisition, and logistics support of the new European MALE unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
The new system will be a valuable addition to enhancing persistent surveillance capabilities, the DPP notes, adding that the Euro MALE RPAS will represent a leap forward compared with the existing generation of unmanned technologies. It will feature an open architecture, modularity, and be predisposed to receive iterative upgrades to adapt to the evolving mission scenarios.
The DPP mentions the Eurodrone will be primarily employed in surveillance roles and, interestingly, does not mention potential future options for an armed configuration of system.
News on Italy's commitment to the Euro MALE RPAS programme comes after the Executive Administration (EA) Director of the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) and senior representatives from prime contractor Airbus Defence and Space from Germany and Spain signed an agreement on 15 July to allow European Defence Industrial Development Programme funding from the European Union to partially finance the project, which also includes Leonardo from Italy and Dassault from France.
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Italy seeks to invest EUR1.8 billion (USD2.1 billion) through 2035 in the European Medium-Altitude L...