> our title:

Neuron UCAV Demonstrator Begins Naval Flight Test Campaign

> original title:

The DGA Launches New Test Campaign for Neuron UCAV Demonstrator

(Source: French defense procurement agency, DGA; issued May 17, 2016)

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

PARIS --- The Directorate-General of Armaments (DGA) has launched a new national campaign of flight tests of the NEURON UCAV technology demonstrator. The first flight took place today at Istres.

The DGA Flight Test Center will oversee this campaign, one of whose objectives is to study the use of a UCAV in a naval context. The campaign and include sea trials the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. It will be followed by an electromagnetic signature measurement campaign carried out until early 2017 by DGA ‘s IT Dominance unit located in Bruz, near Rennes in Brittany.

NEURON foreshadows the next generation of combat aircraft. Launched in 2006, the project is a European cooperative effort that brings together, in addition to France with Dassault Aviation, five countries and their industrial partners: Italy (Alenia Aermacchi, now Leonardo-Finmeccanica), Sweden (Saab), Spain (Airbus Defence & Space), Greece (HAI) and Switzerland (RUAG).

DGA provides project management of the project and Dassault Aviation is prime contractor.

Neuron’s first test campaign, conducted on behalf of the six nations between December 2012 and September 2015, included 123 flights. They were first made in Istres for the opening of its flight envelope, the development of the system and the evaluation of its stealth by the DGA. Then in Italy, at Decimomannu, for a demonstration of the performance of its optronic sensor and its detection algorithms and automatic target recognition, and stealth tests in favor of the Italian Ministry of Defence. Finally, in Sweden at the Vidsel flight test range, with the dropping of weapons and the assessment of its stealth to the Swedish Ministry of Defence.

The quality of the data collected during this first test campaign, and the reliability demonstrated by the drone, were remarkable.

NEURON marks a major technology research and effort by the Ministry of Defence for the future of combat aviation in Europe, and to maintain core industrial skills.