Alenia Aeronautica, a Finmeccanica company, announces today that it has recently delivered the Weapon Bay Doors & Mechanism for nEUROn (the new-generation technology demonstrator for a European Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle - UCAV) to Dassault Aviation. This complex system was designed, built and integrated entirely by Alenia Aeronautica to include the weapon housing doors and the respective activation and control system.
The system delivered to Dassault Aviation fulfils the specific and extremely stringent programme requirements defined to ensure the very low observability of the aircraft. This required new design criteria to be adopted and the use of construction technologies that are completely innovative in Europe. In this regard, Alenia Aeronautica has patented the design for the "seal" around the perimeter of the weapon bay doors.
After having completed the meticulous acceptance checks with Dassault Aviation, which were entirely successful, the Weapon Bay Doors & Mechanism were shipped to the Dassault plant in Istres, where the final assembly of the aircraft and system integration tests are currently under way.
The nEUROn programme, launched by the French Ministry of Defence and supported by Italy, Sweden, Spain, Greece and Switzerland, represents the huge efforts being made to develop new technologies and lay the foundations for future unmanned aircraft programmes for military use. The aim is to build a full-scale technology demonstrator of a UCAV that could fly in Europe by 2012.
In industrial terms, the nEUROn programme is led by the French Dassault Aviation company, with Alenia Aeronautica as the first industrial partner, with a 22% share in the programme and responsibility for systems and subsystems. As the Italian leader, Alenia Aeronautica also heads up a group of Italian companies that includes SELEX Galileo (a Finmeccanica company).
Specifically, Alenia Aeronautica is responsible for designing and producing the electricity generation and distribution system, the low observable air data system, and, most importantly, the Smart Integrated Weapon Bay (SIWB), the integrated weapons system components with full subsystem management autonomy. This system allows the target to be automatically identified and recognised; a request for approval to be sent to the ground station commander and the weapon to be launched in stealth mode.
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