ROME, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Two European companies are exploring possible cooperation to become leaders in the design and manufacture of unmanned aerial vehicles.
Cassidian, on behalf of EADS Deutschland GmbH, and Alenia Aeronautica S.p.A. of Italy, said their new Memorandum of Understanding is for medium-altitude, long -endurance unmanned aerial systems and unmanned combat aerial vehicles.
"The signing of this agreement is important for Alenia Aeronautica because it allows us to collaborate with a capable player in the sector of UAS, favoring the growth of our ability to design, build, integrate and support a complex system for the global market, both civil and military," said Giuseppe Giordo, chief executive officer of Alenia Aeronautica and Alenia Aermacchi.
"The UAS sector has a strategic importance for the future of Alenia Aeronautica's programs and we are convinced that this agreement will allow us to become even more competitive in this quickly expanding market."
Giordo is also responsible for the aeronautics sector of Finmeccanica, the two Italian companies' parent organization.
Cassidian and Alenia Aeronautica, in a joint statement, said they will analyze the UAS and UCAV requirements of the Italian and German governments to "create a strategic partnership" and expand their global UAS market share.
"We look forward to investigate further collaboration with Alenia Aeronautica around a next-generation MALE UAS, like for instance, the Talarion which is of outmost importance for Europe's military aviation industry," said Cassidian Chief Operating Officer Bernhard Gerwert.
"It will fulfill government security missions and commercial applications which cannot be implemented with current solutions and their derivatives."
Talarion is the European program for a next-generation, medium-altitude, long-endurance UAS and calculated to meet the requirements of France, Germany and Spain for future MALE aircraft. The first prototype aircraft is scheduled for 2015.
Deliveries of the first aircraft are to begin three years later.
Cassidian, a subsidiary of EADS, which has headquarters in the Netherlands and which provides air systems; land, naval and joint systems; intelligence and surveillance, cybersecurity, secure communications solutions, among others.
In other UAS-related news from Europe, Indra of Spain this month demonstrated its Pelican and Mantis aircraft.
The Pelican is a rotary unmanned system designed for maritime use. It is can fly six hours, is fully autonomous and can carry a payload of about 120 pounds.
The Mantis is a small UAV for land use and has a range of about 18 miles. The system, which can be carried by one or two people, is autonomous in flight along a pre-established route.