PARIS - In a bid become major industrial players, Italy's Alenia and EADS defense and security unit Cassidian have signed a preliminary agreement to explore cooperation in medium-altitude, long-endurance and combat UAVs, the companies said in a Dec. 14 statement.
"A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Cassidian on behalf of EADS Deutschland GmbH and Alenia Aeronautica SpA to jointly investigate the potential cooperation in the field of medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAV)," a joint statement said.
"Alenia and Cassidian are aiming to strengthen their technological know-how in order to establish a leading role in the UAS market," the companies said. "Thanks to this agreement, the two companies will analyze the requirements expressed by each of their respective governments in the UAS sector with the objective to create a strategic partnership and to expand their global UAS market share.
Cassidian sought the agreement with Alenia to extend its work on the Talarion advanced UAV.
"We look forward to investigating further collaboration with Alenia Aeronautica around a next-generation MALE UAS, like for instance the Talarion, which is of outmost importance for Europe's military aviation industry," Cassisian chief operating officer Bernhard Gerwert said in the statement.
France, Germany and Spain have shown no willingness to sign a development contract for the Talarion after EADS delivered its 60-million euro risk reduction study.
Alenia sees cooperation with EADS as a way of staying current in the UAV market.
"The UAS sector has a strategic importance for the future of Alenia Aeronautica's programs, and we are convinced that this agreement will allow us to become even more competitive in this quickly expanding market," Giuseppe Giordo, chief executive of Alenia Aeronautica and Alenia Aermacchi, said.
An Anglo-French cooperation military treaty, which includes collaboration in UAVs and UCAVs, has sparked concern in Germany, Italy and Spain that the agreement is exclusively bilateral and locks out other European partners.