The contract for the definition study of the European MALE RPAS (Medium Altitude Long Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft System) programme, assigned to Airbus, Dassault Aviation and Leonardo has been launched by a kick-off meeting chaired by the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) with the attendance of the programme participating States France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

MALE RPAS will be a new generation remotely piloted air system for armed Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions.

The two-year definition study starts from September 2016. It will be jointly executed by Airbus Defence and Space, Dassault Aviation and Leonardo Aircraft Division with an equal work allocation. The three companies are co-contractors to perform the definition study.

Following the study, the start of the development phase is planned for 2018, with a prototype first flight in early 2023 and a first delivery of the system in the 2025 timeframe.

Operational requirements of the nations will be defined in close cooperation with the armed forces.

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