Defence giants push for joint drone project

THREE European defence firms yesterday called on governments to launch a joint programme to manufacture drones which are now only available from outside the continent.

European aerospace giant EADS, France’s Dassault and Italy’s Finmeccanica want to make MALE (medium-altitude, long-endurance) drones, which European countries currently have to buy from Israel or America.

In a statement given at the start of the Paris Air Show, the trio said such a programme “would support the capability needs of European armed forces while optimising the difficult budgetary situation through pooling of research and development funding.”

The firms said they were ready to work together on a drone – typically used to collect surveillance material for up to 48 hours – as it would support “the security needs of our European governments”.