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.