Today, the Neuron, Europe’s unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) stealth technology demonstrator, successfully completed its maiden flight from the Dassault Aviation company’s flight test base in Istres, in collaboration with the flight test personnel of the French defense procurement agency (DGA).
The Neuron programme was launched in 2005 by the customer, DGA, and involves France, Italy, Sweden, Spain, Greece and Switzerland. It defines a future for the aeronautic excellence of Europe.
With Dassault Aviation as prime contractor, the program was designed to pool the skills and know-how of Alenia Aermacchi (Italy), Saab (Sweden), EADS-CASA (Spain), HAI (Greece), RUAG (Switzerland) and Thales (France).
With a length of 10 meters, a wingspan of 12.5 meters and an empty weight of 5 metric tonnes, the aircraft is powered by a Rolls-Royce Turbomeca Adour engine.
The Neuron will continue to undergo testing in France until 2014, at which time it will be sent to Vidsel in Sweden for a series of operational trials. It will then go to the Perdadesfogu range (Italy) for further tests, in particular firing and stealth measurements.