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Europe unveils new unmanned combat system

Jan. 20, 2012 at 1:45 PM

ISTRES, France, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- The first stealth unmanned combat aircraft built through a European cooperative venture has made its debut in France following static testing.

The nEUROn demonstrator -- 31.2 feet long and with a wing span of 41 feet -- was built by Saab of Sweden, Italy's Alenia Aermacchi, EADS-CASA of Spain, HAI of Greece and RUAG of Switzerland, with Dassault in the lead.

The aircraft was rolled out for inspection by partnering firms and countries after five years of design, development, assembly and static testing.

"For years we have been energetically engaged in the development of highly innovative products with means of development, manufacture and use that are entirely new in comparison with the traditional aeronautical context," said Alenia Aermacchi Chief Executive Officer Giuseppe Giordo.

Alenia Aermacchi designed and built the aircrafts air data system, integrated weapons bay and subsystems, and the aircraft's electricity generation and distribution system.

The craft was designed and built "on a virtual plateau," the companies said.

The aircraft is scheduled for first flight this year, followed by a series of flight tests over two years in France, Italy and Sweden.

The nEUROn program was started in 2003 by the French Ministry of Defense.

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