nEUROn Success Continues Support for FCAS

Dassault Aviation’s nEUROn has completed its fifth flight test campaign, continuing to support the development of the Système de Combat Aérien du Futur (SCAF/Future Combat Air System, or FCAS).

Flight testing of the stealth unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) was mandated by the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA, Directorate General of Armaments). The campaign was carried out in co-operation with Dassault Aviation. The flights took place from Istres-Le Tubé air base, near Marseille in southern France.

In a press release, the DGA said: “This new campaign brings extremely rich lessons in the area of stealth and associated advanced technologies. The results are being [analysed] in depth, jointly conducted by several [centres] of expertise and testing of the DGA. They will bring major elements to guide the choices of architecture and technology of the [FCAS].”

Dassault nEUROn
Dassault's nEUROn experimental UCAV demonstrator in flight. Dassault Aviation/A Pecchi

One of the objectives sought from the test campaign was to study the use of a stealth UCAV in an operational context, including developing possible defensive tactics against such a platform.

The Armée de l’Air (French Air Force) was heavily involved, with Avord air base providing a Boeing E-3F Sentry airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft from its 36e Escadre de Commandement et de Conduite Aéroportée (36th Airborne Command and Control Wing). The air arm also provided five Dassault Rafales in order to help create a collaborative combat atmosphere for the nEUROn demonstrator, which was deployed in multiple tactical configurations. The campaign worked closely with France’s Military Air Expertise Centre (CEAM).

Dassault’s nEUROn first flew on December 1, 2012, and is the result of multi-national development. Other involved nations in the nEUROn programme include Greece, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Rafale B and nEUROn in flight
A Dassault Rafale B two-seat multirole fighter flies in formation with the nEUROn. Dassault Aviation/C Cosmao

The results gathered from the nEUROn’s fifth round of flight testing will help inform the development decisions made on the European FCAS programme, which has now progressed into its demonstrator phase after the French, German and Spanish governments awarded the initial framework contracts to the industrial consortium involved with the type’s development.

To read more about the launch of the FCAS demonstrator phase, follow this link

To read about the first details of the planned powerplants for the FCAS, as released by Safran, follow this link

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