Italian firm Avio Aero has secured a contract to supply its Catalyst engine and propeller solution for the Eurodrone uncrewed aerial system (UAS).

The company was selected by Airbus through a competitive tender process and an extensive technical analysis phase.

According to an Avio Aero statement, the programme includes 120 engines and a multi-year service and maintenance agreement.

The flight-proven Catalyst engine is entirely developed and manufactured in Europe.

Airbus Defence and Space Military Aircraft head Jean-Brice Dumont said: “This selection is a decisive step forward and will ensure that the Eurodrone programme can proceed on time, on cost and in line with the specifications laid out by our customers.

“The Catalyst was identified as the best solution based on superior performance, lower developmental risk, better in-service economics, as well as growth potential. In line with customer requirements, Catalyst will offer a truly European solution and will thus contribute to the overall role of Eurodrone as an enabler of strategic autonomy.”

A medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS), Eurodrone will be equipped with adaptable capabilities for intelligence, surveillance target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions or homeland security operations.

The system is being developed by Dassault Aviation, Leonardo and Airbus for Germany, France, Italy and Spain. The programme is managed by the defence procurement agency Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation (OCCAR).

According to Airbus, Eurodrone’s first flight is scheduled for 2026. The delivery of the first UAS is expected in 2029.

Last month, Airbus signed a Eurodrone contract with OCCAR.