The nEUROn is 31.2 feet long, has a wing span of 41 feet and can fly at 608 miles per hour. It is being developed by Dassault Aviation of France, Saab of Sweden, Switzerland's RUAG Aerospace, EADS CASA of Spain and Alenia Aeronautica of Italy. It was conceived as a stealth bomber but will now be used as a test platform for new technologies.
Saab is responsible for the demonstrator's for avionics, fuel systems, critical parts of the ground station and the design and production of the main fuselage and hailed the aircraft's first flight.
"This first flight demonstrates Saab's ability to develop and produce advanced aeronautics products," said Mats Palmberg vice president and head of Marketing and Future Products at Saab's Aeronautics business area. "The nEOROn program has resulted in experiences that will further enhance Saab's competiveness with regard to high-tech and cost efficient design and production methods.
"The knowledge gained is being used in the development of the next-generation Gripen (fighter), our civil production and future activities within unmanned aerial systems."
Details of the first flight by Dassault were not disclosed. Saab, however, said addition flight testing would be conducted in France until 2014, when the aircraft will be transferred to Sweden for further evaluation.
Saab said the demonstrator program is a pan-European effort to develop expertise among participating nations and industries in advanced aeronautics.