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Germany blames contractor problems, immature technologies for Eurodrone delay

A mock-up of the Eurodrone shown at the ILA Berlin Airshow in 2022. Germany has said that contractor and technology problems have delayed the project. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Germany has cited problems between leading contractors and immature technologies for delays to the Eurodrone project.

In its Annual Armaments Report published on 31 January, the German Bundeswehr said that ongoing co-ordination between contractors, coupled with technologies that are not yet mature, has already caused the preliminary design review (PDR) to be delayed, and could impact the critical design review (CDR), which is the milestone at which the project could be cancelled entirely.

“The next major milestone is the PDR, originally scheduled for September 2023. Delays to the PDR [were] due to ongoing co-ordination problems between the German main contractor, Airbus Defence and Space, and the French subcontractor, Dassault. This could also have an impact on the CDR, which is currently contractually agreed for September 2024. The CDR is the first termination milestone of the contract. The main contractor, Airbus Defence and Space, is trying to solve existing problems regarding Dassault's work comprehensively and promptly,” the report said. Neither Airbus nor Dassault had commented on the nature of the problems at the time of publication.

Further to the contractor issue, the Bundeswehr report cited technological problems that had adversely affected the PDR schedule, saying, “Currently, not all subsystems have the necessary technological maturity to begin the formal PDR process.”

Also known as the European medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) remotely piloted air system (RPAS), the Eurodrone was officially launched in February 2022 by Germany (Airbus DS) as the lead country, along with France (Dassault), Italy (Leonardo), and Spain (Airbus DS).

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