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ILA 2018: European ‘Big Four’ Mission Systems Houses Make Joint Offer for European MALE

Elettronica, Hensoldt, Indra and Thales Offer Future-proof ISTAR Functionality


Elettronica, Hensoldt, Indra and Thales have signed a memorandum of understanding confirming their common goal to offer a coherent ISTAR functional chain for the European Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS). The proposed mission system will comprise all elements from sensors and computing through data processing and communications. The team is open to cooperation with other companies.

The four companies will bring their longstanding experience and technology leadership in defence electronics and mission systems to the joint approach, thereby substantially reducing the inherent risk of such a challenging programme. This will safeguard target-oriented implementation in terms of time and cost, while guaranteeing the growth potential required to address future tasks.

“The future operating environment of air forces will bring a variety of flying platforms into one forcemultiplying network”, commented Hensoldt CEO Thomas Müller. “The close cooperation of the various platforms’ mission systems is paramount to leverage the advantage of such highly complex network. Therefore, the architecture of the new RPAS mission system must be in the hands of the subject matter experts from the start, tailoring its development irrespective of single platform aspects.”

 “Thales, Hensoldt, Elettronica and Indra have big ambitions based on a shared vision of the digital transformation of their industries and customers. Thales will be using its expertise in defence mission systems mastering [the] four key digital technologies of connectivity, big data, AI, and cybersecurity. We offer our clients decisive technologies to take the best decision in real time,” added Thales Chairman and CEO, Patrice Caine.

“We are building industrial cooperation in Europe and preparing for a future in which defence investments will be mainly performed at [the] European level. This alliance will pave the way for future large programmes currently being defined in Europe” observed Indra’s Executive Director, Ignacio Mataix.

“Our long-term experience in collaboration programmes and our mindset will be beneficial in terms of risk reduction and full capability achievement. The teaming with our historical European partners will lead to a high level of success,” concluded Elettronica Chairman and CEO, Enzo Benigni.

The European MALE RPAS programme is managed by the European procurement agency OCCAR.  A definition study contract was signed on 26 August 2016 with Airbus Defence and Space, Dassault and Leonardo. The development phase is expected to be launched in 2019. 

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