The Spanish government has given final approval to participate in a multinational project to produce Europe’s next-generation drone.
Airbus chief executive officer Michael Schoellhorn revealed that the country’s council of ministers declared budgetary approval for the Eurodrone program earlier this week, officially signifying Madrid’s participation in the project alongside Germany, France, and Italy.
Spain will reportedly participate with a 23-percent share, with funding provided by the country’s Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Tourism.
In 2020, a draft contract for the Eurodrone project was signed by France. Germany also signed on to the program five months later despite budgetary concerns.
Eurodrone project head Daniela Lohwasser said during an Airbus media briefing in November 2021 that Italy also agreed to be involved in the program. However, necessary approval by Spain was delayed for undisclosed reasons.
The multinational program has been delayed by two years.
Great news from Spain!
Budgetary approval today by🇪🇸Council of Ministers for the #Eurodrone, which follows that of🇩🇪,🇫🇷 & 🇮🇹, paves the way for contract signature on this key collaborative programme, which strengthens Europe’s strategic autonomy & sovereignty.#DefenceMatters pic.twitter.com/DTbU2sDFUO
— Michael Schoellhorn (@SchoellhornMike) January 25, 2022
About the Eurodrone
Described as “the first unmanned aerial system designed to fly in non-segregated airspace,” the Eurodrone can perform intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance missions.
Airbus said the next-generation platform would give Europe “unparalleled competencies” in unmanned systems and offer advanced strategic performance capabilities to help guarantee European sovereignty.
Although the Eurodrone has received criticism because of the difficulties of facilitating a multinational project, the platform is expected to enhance European security and defense. It is meant to become an essential asset for future combat air systems.
“Eurodrone is designed to become one of the main pillars of any future combat air system, prepared for real integration into civil airspace based on minimal restrictions and easy transportability due to its modular design,” Airbus explained on its website.
The four nations involved in the project have ordered a total of 20 systems, each comprising two ground stations and three unmanned aircraft. The first flight for the state-of-the-art drone is targeted for 2025, with initial deliveries expected in 2028.