France is confident in the conclusion "
before the end of the year
" of an agreement on the development and production of the future European drone Eurodrone, after tough negotiations on the cost of the project, the ministry said on Wednesday. Armies.
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We are continuing the negotiations.
We congratulate ourselves on the French side for having put enormous pressure on the industrialist because, by dint of insisting, we end up being there
, ”said Minister Florence Parly's office, who is due to meet with her on Thursday. German counterpart during a trip dedicated to cooperation between the two countries in defense.
If there are "a
few small details
we are rather going on the outcome of this project
" and subject to the agreement of the other partner countries, "
a formal decision will be taken normally before the end of the year
Launched in 2015, this MALE (Medium altitude, long endurance) drone project brings together France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
Airbus is the industrial leader with French Dassault and Italian Leonardo as partners.
The project aims to free itself from dependence on American Reaper drones, but discussions have stalled for many months, especially on the cost of the program.
Delivery scheduled for 2028 in France
States have set a budget target of 7.1 billion euros for the development and acquisition of 63 drones, or 21 systems.
we are very close
" to this budget target, we confided to the minister's office.
The European Union has also promised funding of 100 million euros for the Eurodrone via the European program for industrial development in the field of defense (EDIDP).
Of course, there are development costs associated with this program, we have to pay an entry ticket to develop a European drone.
Sovereignty has a price, not just any price, but we assume it
”, we comment in Paris.
However, the Europeans expect a unit cost "
significantly less expensive than the cost of the Reaper
", of the order of 160 million euros per Eurodrone system against 200 million for the Reaper, according to the ministry.
Likewise, the estimated cost per hour of flight would be 3,000 euros for the future Eurodrone against 4,000 euros for the American drone, assures Paris.
The crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic could also constitute "
the lifeline of the Eurodrone
", estimates a source
the matter, arguing that "
there would be a paradoxical character to be commanded American at the time when the (European) aeronautics industry is facing major difficulties
The first Eurodrone system should be delivered to Germany in 2027, before a first delivery to France in 2028.