EADS won’t join French-British ‘Telemos’ drone project

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European aerospace group EADS will not take part in the French-British Telemos drone programme, which it competes against with its own drone Talarion, said a spokesman.

The statement dismissed speculation EADS was keen to join the rival project after French newspaper Le Monde cited EADS chief executive Louis Gallois as saying two countries’ participation was not enough for a drone project.
“We are prepared to compete with Talarion… which is five years of work ahead of any European competitor,” the spokesman said when asked if EADS would join the joint project between the UK’s BAE Systems and France’s Dassault Aviation, Reuters reports.

Europe should not bring two different drone programmes to market, the spokesman said, as buyer states already have enough difficulties financing one project and export prospects would be better if a single project were backed.

EADS has spent years developing the Talarion unmanned aerial vehicle at its own expense in the hope of winning an order from the project’s instigators France, Germany and Spain.

However, Dassault and BAE Systems — which compete to sell conventional fighter jets — have stepped up plans for their own drone under a Franco-British defence pact signed last year, provoking anger and frustration from EADS.

EADS has repeatedly warned policymakers that Europe needs to cooperate on the next generation of military drones or it will repeat costly divisions which led to rival combat jets competing for the same orders.