Saab AB (Sweden) officially delivered the front and central fuselage sections of the nEUROn European UCAV technology demonstrator to the Prime contractor, Dassault Aviation (France).
For both companies, this delivery constitutes an important milestone after six years of acquisition, sharing and strengthening of know how in the fields of technology and program cooperation. Both companies express their satisfaction about this success that will culminate in nEUROn’s maiden flight in mid-2012 to be followed by several flight test campaigns.
The Saab fuselage section will be transported from Linköping to Istres where it will meet the rear fuselage section already delivered in mid-January by HAI (Greece). The structural elements built by the other partners will rapidly converge towards Istres (France): the ordnance release pantograph by RUAG (Switzerland) will arrive end of February; the two half wings by EADS-CASA (Spain) will arrive beginning of March; the two weapon bay doors by Alenia (Italy) will arrive end of March; and the three landing gear doors by Saab will arrive in April. In addition, several stealthiness-related parts will be delivered by Dassault Aviation between January and March.
The Prime contractor with its five other industrial partners and the Executive Agency have already drawn substantial lessons from the program, including in the field of program management and schedule optimization. The Dassault team, assisted by the teams delegated to Istres by the various industrial partners, will perform the final layout, piping, electrical wiring and equipment fitting, as defined in the digital mock-up reference established by the six partners on the virtual plateau, as well as the final assembly.
Then, during the last quarter of 2011, the Dassault Aviation team will perform the ground tests of the nEUROn, followed by the first engine run-up by end 2011, aiming at a maiden flight in mid-2012.