> our title:

Neuron UCAV Demonstrator Completes French Trials

> original title:

nEUROn: 100th Flight and End of French State Trials

(Source: French defense procurement agency, DGA; issued March 09, 2015)

(Issued in French only; unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)

The Ministry of Defence has completed its campaign of “stealth” flight testing of the Neuron UCAV technology demonstrator. These tests were conducted by the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) from Istres, as were the manufacturer testing by Dassault Aviation, which they followed beginning on October 31, 2014. The final flight -- which was also the 100th flight of the aircraft – took place on Thursday, February 26th. nEUROn flight testing will now continue overseas until the end of the year, first in Italy and then in Sweden.

The DGA testing campaign measured the radar and infrared signatures of nEUROn and confronted it with various operational sensors, particularly ground and airborne radar, as well as with missile seekers. This involved the expertise of several research centers including DGA Flight Testing (at Istres and Cazaux) DGA Information Dominance (Bruz) and DGA Aeronautical Techniques (Toulouse). Valuable lessons were learned on the stealth features of this type of aircraft.

DGA is the overall authority of the nEUROn project, and awarded the contract to industry in 2006. It is the result of European cooperation that brings together, in addition to France with Dassault Aviation as prime contractor, five partner countries and their national manufacturers: Italy (Alenia Aermacchi), Sweden (Saab), Spain (Airbus Defence & Space), Greece (HAI) and Switzerland (Ruag). The first flight of nEUROn took place in Istres on December 1st, 2012.

nEUROn marks a major research and technology effort by the Ministry of Defence for the future, and supports and maintains essential industry skills. It foreshadows the next generation of fighter aircraft, whether manned or unmanned, with the ambition of preserving European autonomy in this field.

The experience France gained from nEUROn is already being exploited in the Franco-British future UCAV project (Future Combat Air System, FCAS), whose industry studies were launched on November 5, 2014.