Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
1 December 2012
Also Known As: UCAV
Airbus Group, Alenia Aermacchi, Dassault-Aviation*, HAI Hellenic Aerospace Industry, RUAG Holding and Saab (*) lead contractor
Parent System: NEURON
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 2014
Maiden Flight: 1 December 2012
Total Production: ?
Total Cost: USD$480 million
There are no reviews so far
Description: The Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) program is aimed at developing technologies to enabled unmanned aerial platforms to effectively penetrate enemy air space either autonomously or guided with the additional capability to attack ground targets. EADS and Dassault Aviation, as the prime contractor, launched this program with the signing of a collaborative agreement in June 2004. In June 2004, Dassault announced that the UCAV demonstrator's name was NEURON.
NEURON will feature a GPS/INS based navigation system, data links, stealth features, complex carbon fiber structures, and an internal weapons bay. An Automatic Target Acquisition/Recognition (ATA/ATR) will be provided to the NEURON ensuring ground targets engagement capability. The UCAV demonstrator is expected to perform its maiden flight by 2011. If finally NEURON turns into a combat aircraft, it would achieve initial operational capability well beyond 2015.
The demonstrator program is worth €300 million to be funded jointly by the program partner countries. Greece joined this program in January 2003. Spain's EADS CASA joined the project in May 2005. As of June 2005, there are six countries partnering the UCAV program: France (EADS and Dassault); Sweden (SAAB); Greece (HAI); Italy (Alenia); Switzerland (RAUG); and Spain (EADS CASA).
In June 2005, Dassault Aviation awarded Thales a contract to develop the high-speed data-link for the Neuron demonstrator. In December the Swedish government decided to participate in the Neuron program through MSEK 750 in funding of which MSEK 600 were financed by Saab. The Neuron program received officially the green light by the French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA) in February 2006. The first demonstrator was priced at 405 million Euro with its maiden flight anticipated by 2011 or 2012.
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