Advancements in augmented battalion structures in contemporary military doctrine require urgent interoperability and integration with advanced combat aid systems. A prime example of the intersectional application of modern technological advancements in military structure reform is highlighted in drone technology, particularly in the regional developments of the European drone industry, in how integration will be implemented in line with autonomous European doctrine, and EU developments of expeditionary deployment. The core of this kind of European multilateral technological development can be analysed astutely within the nEUROn drone programme, a joint-funded project undertaken by France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland (French Senate, 2005).
After gaining approval of the Bundestag on 14 April 2021, the Eurodrone contract between Airbus, OCCAR, and the four Member States, Germany, Spain, France, and Italy will be signed in the coming weeks. The signing of the contract would be a great step forward for the German and European defence industry regarding remote operations and technical interoperability between Member States.
According to recent forecasts, the market for military drones and sensors will grow rapidly and dynamically in the coming years. This will have a significant influence on the drone industry as well as on sensors and payloads production, including a variety of components like electro-optical and infrared detectors (EO/IR), which make up for a significant share of the sector’s growth. Furthermore, experts estimate that the total global spending on military UAV systems will reach about $98 billion in the next decade.
The diffusion of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and drones have registered an exponential increase in recent years. Beyond military UAVs, it is cheap and easy to buy small commercial drones that are easily controlled with a smartphone or remote control. One consequence stemming from this comes in the form of the challenge they pose to security, and the measures which must now be taken to protect sensitive locations and events.
As participant members of PESCO, Italy, France, and Spain, under the coordination of Germany initiated the development of the European Medium Altitude Long Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems – Male RPAS, also known as the Eurodrone project (Hoyle, 2020). In mid-November 2020 OCCAR (Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation) and Airbus Defence and Space – the German industrial contractors who collaborate with Airbus Spain, Dassault, and Leonardo - successfully concluded negotiations on contract conditions, prices, and performance specifications (Donald, 2020). The formal contract for the project’s implementation is expected to be signed in early 2021, with first flight-tests scheduled for 2025 and market availability for 2028 (Hoyle, 2020).