€100 million EU grant puts Eurodrone production contract on the table

Europe’s fledgling Eurodrone program has received a boost in the form of a €100 million grant from the EU, while an official promised a long expected, €7.1 billion production contract will be signed by October, Defense News reports.

The grant for the pan-European medium-altitude, long-endurance drone was announced in Rome, where officials from manufacturers met with the head of European defense contracting agency OCCAR, which is handling the deal.

“This is the beginning of European defence. The member states have finally decided to rely on European industry. It is an important step towards independence,” said Adm. Matteo Bisceglia, the director of OCCAR, which stands for Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation.

The Eurodrone project to build a twin-turboprop aircraft —in both an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance version and a battlefield version — aims to wean Europe off its reliance on U.S. and Israeli UAVs.

Led by French companies Airbus and Dassault Aviation as well as Italian firm Leonardo, the project envisages a €7.1 billion production of 20 sets of three drones for four national customers — Spain, Italy, Germany and France — with deliveries in 2028.

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