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01. December 2015

MALE RPAS Programme Management Authorisation approved

A major milestone has been reached in the European MALE RPAS (Medium Altitude Long Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft System) effort: The approval of the Programme Management Authorisation (PMA) by the OCCAR Board of Supervisors in November 2015 authorises the assignment of the programme to OCCAR for management purposes, with the initial participation of France, Germany, Italy and Spain. On the basis of this PMA, programme integration activities into OCCAR are now progressing at full speed. 

On 18 May 2015, France, Germany and Italy declared their intention to conduct a definition study in order to prepare the development of a European MALE RPAS. Since then, Spain has become the fourth nation to participate in the study which is planned to last 2 years. The main purpose is to identify a set of achievable operational capabilities, to define the corresponding set of system requirements and to perform preliminary design activities to allow the launch of a potential development and production phase with minimum residual risk. 

Under the management of OCCAR, European industry will conduct the study. Contract award for the definition study is expected during the first half of 2016. The definition study will be the initial phase of the planned development of the MALE RPAS system. Subject to a decision to continue with development and production of the system, the first system will be delivered by 2025. 

Once operational, the system will perform long endurance intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions with a variety of payloads as well as ground support missions with precision weapons.

The European Defence Agency (EDA) was asked by the Participating States to support the programme in the areas of air traffic integration and certification and to facilitate the potential participation of other European states in the follow-on phase.