Tuesday, June 19, 2007
In a joint European project, the Nureon, an unmanned combat stealth aircraft will be ready for assembly in 2011. The UCAV will be able to launch precision-guided munitions from an internal weapons bay and will have a stealth airframe with reduced radar and infrared cross-sections. The payload will be two lazer guided 550 lb. bombs, and undoubtably include depleted uranium warheads. Needless to mention it could also carry two nuclear bombs.
Neuron - Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle Demonstrator, Europe
Neuron is the European Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) demonstrator for the development, integration and validation of UCAV technologies and is not for military operational deployment. Dassault unveiled a life-size model of Neuron at the 2005 Paris Air Show. The operational UCAV is expected to be a larger design than the Neuron demonstrator.
A main aim of the Neuron programme is to sustain and develop European manufacturers' aeronautic and other technologies for next-generation combat aircraft and UAVs.
By summer 2005, a series of memorandums of understanding had been signed and industrial teaming arrangements been set up. By the end of 2005, the governments of France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland had agreed to invest in the Neuron programme.
In February 2006, the Neuron programme was formally launched with the award, by the French DGA on behalf of the participating nations, of a contract to Dassault as prime contractor for the design and development of the Neuron demonstrator. This begins a three-year system definition and design phase, to be followed by development and assembly phase and a first flight in 2011. Flight tests will be carried out in France, Italy and Sweden. A major design review is scheduled for June 2007.
The UCAV will be able to launch precision-guided munitions from an internal weapons bay and will have a stealth airframe with reduced radar and infrared cross-sections.
Dassault Aviation is the design authority with responsibility for the general design, system architecture, the flight control system and final assembly together with ground tests and flight tests. Dassault's UAV and UCAV design capability was developed under a sequence of experimental development and validation programmes, Aeronef Validation Experimental (AVE). Dassault started the AVE LogiDuc programme (AVE Logistics to Demonstrate UCAV) in 1999.
Saab Aerosystems, based in Linkoping, Sweden, is responsible for overall design, fuselage, avionics, fuel system, flight control, airworthiness, autonomy, multi-payload capabilities, structural design and manufacture and ground and flight testing.
"The Neuron UCAV will incorporate highly advanced avionics, stealth and network centric technologies."Saab has built strong capability in UAV and UCAV technology with the SHARC Swedish Highly Advanced Research Configuration demonstrator, FILUR Flying Innovative Low-observable Unmanned Research UAV, the EuroMALE European Medium Altitude Long Endurance UAV with EADS and the establishment of the Link Lab drone development centres, a joint venture with Linkoping University. Technology development on the Neuron program would be applicable to planned upgrades of the Saab Gripen fighter aircraft which is expected to remain in service until about 2035.
In March 2004, Hellenic Aerospace Industry (HAI) and Dassault signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the Dassault UCAV programme which became the Neuron programme. Under the terms of the MOU, HAI is responsible for the engine exhaust and the rear fuselage section, and the test rig.
EADS CASA of Spain is responsible for the wings and also the ground station and integration of the data link. EADS CASA and Dassault signed the MOU agreement in May 2005.
Ruag in Switzerland is responsible for the weapons interface and wind tunnel testing.
Alenia Aeronautica in Italy is responsible for the development of the electrical power system, the air data system, development of the Smart Weapon Bay, and for flight testing.
During 2005, Turkey formally applied to take part in the EADS MALE Medium Altitude Long Endurance UAV program and the Dassault led Neuron programme and is currently waiting a response to establish the scope and timing of any possible participation.