European UAV from Saab to France

After six years of planning, design, and production, Saab has now delivered the fuselage for Neuron, the European UAV demonstrator, to the primary contractor Dassault Aviation.

Neuron is a European collaboration project to develop a UCAV demonstrator, Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle. The aim is to develop expertise within advanced aeronautics. Six European countries are involved together with their aerospace industries: France, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Greece and Switzerland.

The work packages being managed by Saab relate to low signature (stealth) technology, flight testing, aerodynamics, avionics, the fuel system, the critical part of the ground station, as well as the design and production of the main fuselage, which has now been completed. The material and design used is mainly a composites sandwich construction.

Mr. Benoit Dussaugey, senior vice president at Dassault Aviation, thanks Mr. Lennart Sindahl at Saab for a positive collaboration.

The fuselage is being transported from Saab in Linköping to Istres, where Neuron's aft section is already located. This has been produced by HAI in Greece. At the end of February, structural parts will be arriving from RUAG in Switzerland, and the two wing halves being produced by EADS-CASA in Spain will arrive at the beginning of March. 


The loading doors from Italy's Alenia, the landing gear doors from Saab, plus additional stealth components from Dassault will follow, before the ground tests scheduled for the last quarter of 2011 take place. The maiden flight is expected in mid-2012.


"For Saab, the remaining work mainly involves systems integration and flight testing. These are two of our specialist areas today, where we want to maintain our leading position," says Lennart Sindahl, head of the Aeronautics business area at Saab. "Neuron has helped us to develop our design and production methods, something that will benefit both civil and Gripen production," adds Lennart Sindahl. "Furthermore, the Neuron programme has led to greater cooperation between the participating European countries."