Dassault Aviation and the French defense procurement agency, DGA (Direction générale de l’armement, “Directorate General of Armaments”) has restarted the flight test campaign of Dassault nEUROn stealth combat drone.
The fifth test campaign was conducted at the Istres-Le Tubé Air Base by DGA Essais en vol (“DGA Flight Tests”) in cooperation with Dassault Aviation. One of the objectives of the campaign was to study the use of a stealth combat drone in an operational context, also involving reflection on defense tactics in the face of such a vector.
The test campaign involved five Rafale fighter aircraft, one AWACS aircraft and the nEUROn demonstrator, in multiple tactical configurations. The test was supported by French aeronautical research and test center, CEAM (Centre d’expertise aérienne militaire, “Military Air Expertise Center”) and the French Air Force’s Airborne Detection and Control Squadron (l’escadron de détection de contrôle aéroporté, EDCA).
The outcomes from the test campaign will be used for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS, French: Système de combat aérien futur; SCAF) program. The FCAS program consists of the Next-Generation Weapon System (NGWS) as well as other air assets in the future operational battlespace. The NGWS’s components are Remote Carrier (RC) vehicles (swarming drones) as well as a new sixth-generation jet fighter, dubbed New Generation Fighter (NGF).
“This new campaign brings extremely rich lessons in the field of stealth and associated advanced technologies. The results are being analyzed in-depth, jointly conducted by several centers of expertise and testing of the DGA. They will bring major elements to guide the choices of architecture and technology of the SCAF”, according to the DGA.