The wings for the European Neuron unmanned combat air vehicle demonstrator are now at the Istres, France, assembly facility ready for mating to the fuselage.
The delivery from EADS Casa is the latest step in trying to get the French-led, six-nation stealth demonstrator ready for its first flight mid-next year.
Saab recently handed over the central and forward fuselage section for Europe’s Neuron unmanned combat aerial vehicle, marking a major step forward in the French-led, six-nation stealth demonstration program.
Alenia is due to deliver the bomb bay doors at the end of March and Saab the landing gear doors the following month.
Ground tests are scheduled for the final quarter of 2011 and first run of the Neuron’s Adour engine at year’s end.
The Neuron demonstrator is intended to showcase stealth and other key technologies for the next-generation European combat aircraft program, and establish a potential cooperation framework for its design, construction and deployment. It is currently funded through an initial phase of flight demonstrations, set to end in late 2013. But the French are studying a proposed five-year follow-on demonstration program with Great Britain that would pair Neuron with Britain’s Taranis demonstrator with a view to a possible joint-development initiative toward the end of the decade. A road map for a common technology development and production path is slated to be completed by 2012 under a wide-ranging Franco-British defense cooperation treaty signed last November. However, how France’s Neuron partners view such an arrangement remains to be seen. Moreover, no European nation, including France and Britain, has yet defined a UCAV requirement.