The German Defense Ministry is assuming the leadership role for development of a European drone, the so-called Medium Altitude Long Endurance Remotely Piloted aircraft system or MALE RPAS. In a statement, the ministry also announced that Spain will participate as an equal fourth partner in the project.
According to the ministry, Germany will take over 31 percent, or €18.6 million (US $20.3 million) of the cost of the definition study. France, Italy and Spain each will contribute €13.8 million to the study.
The German ministry further announced that on Nov. 25, the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) was commissioned to manage the definition study for the MALE RPAS.
"There is a will to enter in the program. We will be in, but we still have to negotiate it," a source from the Spanish MoD said. The same source told Defense News, "there is not a hurry about it, the decision will be adopted by the next government."
On Dec. 20, Spain will elect a new president of government. The ruling center-right People's Party is leading the polls, but to govern it might need a second party for support.
The two-year definition study will examine the operational requirements of the nations under a cost- and risk-based angle. Airbus Defence and Space, Dassault Aviation and Finmeccanica will then develop a system design. The study will be jointly executed by the three companies.