Germany, France and Italy have signed a deal which will see the three countries cooperating to produce Europe’s first homemade military drone.
With a set deadline of 2025, the European drone will rival the drones produced by the US and Israel which Europe currently relies upon.
While the UK and Italy have to date used US-made Reaper drones, Germany relies on an Israeli version of unmanned aerial vehicle. France meanwhile imports its drones from both the US and Israel.
French firms Airbus and Dassault as well as Italy’s Alenia Aermacchi will be behind the project to produce the European drone, which will be used for intelligence and reconnaissance missions.
The medium-altitude, long-endurance will be able to fly a distance of 9 km over a period of 24 hours.
“The goal of the Euro-drone is that we can decide by ourselves in Europe on what we use it, where we deploy the Euro-drone and how we use it,” German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said at the signing.
“This makes us, the Europeans, independent,” she added.
Her French counterpart Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the deal was a “very important step for European cooperation.”
According to officials who attended the deal signing in Brussels, the project could cost as much as $1.2 billion and may involve Spain and Poland in the future after a two-year technical assessment.