Airbus has signed the Eurodrone global contract with the Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation (OCCAR).

The contract covers the development and production of 20 systems, as well as five years of initial in-service support.

Airbus Defence and Space signed the deal on behalf of three major sub-contractors (MSC), namely Airbus Defence and Space in Spain, Dassault Aviation in France, and Leonardo in Italy.

OCCAR represented launch countries France, Italy, Germany, and Spain.

Airbus Defence and Space CEO Mike Schoellhorn said: “This signature kicks-off the development of one of the most ambitious European defence programmes. Eurodrone is the result of collaborative work between the industry, OCCAR and the nations.

“It will deliver the most advance unmanned aerial system (UAS) in its segment, generate more than 7,000 high-tech jobs within the industry and will strengthen European industrial sovereignty, know-how and collaboration between nations.”

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Dassault Aviation chairman and CEO Eric Trappier added: “This contract marks the determination of the European nations and industrial partners to achieve the political goals and to meet the technological challenges leading to European defence sovereignty. Innovative programmes with strong key technological foundations will guarantee the strategic autonomy of Europe by offering new alternatives to the on-the-shelf acquisition of non-European products.”

A medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS), Eurodrone is claimed to feature adaptable features.

It serves as a platform for intelligence, surveillance target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions or homeland security operations.

It meets the requirements for integration into civil airspace, thereby facilitating to increase efficiencies without requiring pre-planned emergency landing sites.

As a result, it helps in saving time, fuel and carbon emissions.

Eurodrone develops Digital Design, Manufacturing and Services (DDMS).

Claimed to be a new digital-first approach, DDMS is deployed by Airbus for designing, producing and operating aerospace solutions throughout the product phases.

Last December, Airbus and OneWeb collaborated to develop a full range of secure services for catering for the requirements of armed forces for all their operations on land, at sea, and in the air.