It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Encyclopedia of the all European UCAV projects

page: 1

log in


posted on Dec, 11 2010 @ 12:28 PM
A few years back I made the relatively successful small encyclopedia of the non-US stealth planes: ATS: Encyclopedia of the non-US stealth planes

Since then the development and primarily the knowledge progressed far far away, so its time to move forward. I spent last two years searching for the information about the European UCAV projects and today I finished their description. It had quite complicated history, so here is the diagram, that can help the understanding:

If you are interested, you can also use the google translator to read the articles:

British UCAV projects
German and Italian UCAV projects
Swedish UCAV projects
French UCAV projects and international nEUROn

I hope that in 2011 I will have enough time to create something similar about US UCAVs.

posted on Dec, 17 2010 @ 05:08 AM
With the budget pressures being felt in Europe (and elsewhere) do you think that some of these programmes will merge? I am especially thinking of the recent announcements by the UK Government that procurement and collaboration will increase with other nations, with a strong implication that these will be European / French leaning.

On the other side, the (old) UK Government (in a rare moment of sense) stated that the UK would need to retain an indigenous UCAV / UAV capability and had apparently been supportive various programmes.

Is there a chance that the French, German and UK programmes would merge into a common requirement, perhaps akin to the Eurofighter project, albeit with French participation this time around.


posted on Dec, 17 2010 @ 07:10 AM
How much merging do you expect? As can be seen from the diagram, from all the various programs and demonstrators all around the Europe only three major programs survived the consolidation: Talarion, nEUROn and Taranis. All three are some sort of technology demonstrators. Talarion is the closest to the operational system, something like the development prototype, Taranis is designed in way that it can directly transform into the operational system and the nEUROn is a pure technology demonstrator for future UAVs and UCAVs. If we see some common procurement strategy in Europe in this area, well, that is the question. Actually there is not any. European industry is demonstrating, that it can develop, build, flight test and delivert the best available technology, however the potential customers dont have any scheme or strategy, what and how to ask and buy. Thats the problem.

Regarding the anglo-french cooperation, British Aerospace and Dassault were in close cooperation from the early 90s. On the French side under the AVE (Aeronéf de Validation Experimentale) and on the British side under the FOA/FOAS (Future Offensive Aircraft/Future Offensive Air System) - The main idea was to avoid the second Eurofighter/Rafale situation at any price. During that cooperation a lot of concepts of the manned 5th generation fighters were developed. But despite the early success, this cooperation was reaching its end. There were several reasons. UK government preffered the closer cooperation with the USA on the advanced concepts, but this was the risk for the technology transfers. US representatives were unhappy to share their technology with the UK, while still cooperating with the other European partners, especially with the France. So they did a strong lobby do jeopardize this kind of cooperation. The other reason is commercial - EADS became the important shareholder in the Dassault company and it was unhappy with that cooperation too, because the BAE Systems is EADS´s main competitor in a lot of markets. So the joint development of anything seemed to be very unlikely at this moment.

Becuase that, in 1999 France iniciated its AVE Logiduc program, aimed at the UAV and stealth technology research, that benefits from the early AVE/FOAS cooperation. A serie of demonstrators was proposed (Petit Duc, Moyen Duc, Grand Duc). But it was obvious, that the international cooperation is heavily needed. So in the mid 2003 the international nEUROn program was announced. France did a lot of compromises to attract the foreign partners, that were not willing to finance French nuclear bomber (in fact the original Grand Duc was impressive two engined supersonic UCAV, capable of using nuclear weapons and proposed to replace the Mirage 2000D and 2000N fighters). Especially under the Swedish and SAAB pressure, the nEUROn became pure technology demonstrator that will test the necessary technologies for the future European UAV and UCAV products. Only one nEUROn vehicle will be made, because the partners want to invest to the technology development rather to the manufacuting.

UK started to cooperate mainly with the US and they joined the J-UCAS program. They proposed their own serie of demonstrators: Soarer, SAP, Kestrel, Raven and Corax. Sometime around 2005 they realized, that the cooperation with the US was not the best idea: the J-UCAS program was cancelled and US started to encroach the JSF agreements (by refusing to provide the F-35 source code to the UK for their own modifications). UK terminated the cooperation with the US except the JSF (mainly because a lot of money were invested so far) and they announced their own UCAV demonstrator program - the Taranis. Because the BAe was independently developing the 3rd generation stealth technology since the mid 80s, they were fully capable of doing so. They were also trying to find the international partners, but their position was very hard: becuase of the bad experience the cooperation with the US was unlikely and all significant European partners already joined the nEUROn or EADS lead Barracuda programes. So only national companies an offices such as QuinetiQ or Rolls-Royce joined and thus the Taranis is mainly the national product.

If we see some joint Anglo-French-German procurement strategy of the operational UAVs and UCAVs in the future remains open question.

new topics

log in