Dassault ready to work with BAE on drones

2nd November 2010, Comments 0 comments

French aerospace firm Dassault is ready to work with Britain's BAE Systems to build a new generation of military drones, Dassault said Tuesday, as France and Britain signed a new defence treaty.

"We're delighted to be able to work with British industry. It's what we wanted," said a Dassault Aviation spokesman, confirming that the French firm would like to build a version of its Male drone with BAE.

President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron signed a wide-ranging defence deal on Tuesday, planning to work closely together in sharing equipment, training and deployment.

While Britain's new aircraft carriers will be modified to receive French attack jets such as Dassault's Rafale, experts think the next generation of air power will be dominated by pilotless drones.

Dassault is already working on the Male ("medium altitude long endurance") drone with fellow French-based manufacturer Thales and has been lobbying the French government to take a decision on commissioning it.

The plane, perhaps now with British input, could enter service in 2030.

© 2010 AFP

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