nEUROn European Stealth combat drone has started operational tests in Italy

nEUROn stealth UCAV has started testing its advanced sensors in Italy.

The first example of the nEUROn UCAV (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle), the full-scale technology demonstrator developed by France, Italy, Sweden, Spain, Switzerland and Greece, has started a new testing phase in Sardinia.

After its roll out at Istres airbase in France, on Jan. 20, 2012, following five years of design, development, and static testing, the stealth combat drone (with a loosely resemblance to the Northrop Grumman X-47B) embarked on a three-year test campaign aimed at exploring the whole flight envelope of the UCAV.

According to Dassault, the prime contractor of the European project, the first phase of tests in France included the opening of the weapons bay and evaluation of the EO (Electro Optical) sensor and datalink.

The second phase of testing focused on the assessment of the IR (Infra Red) and EM (Electromagnetic) signature of the aircraft in full stealth configuration, and was successfully completed at Istres in February 2015. Subsequently, the UCAV technology demonstrator was disassembled and moved, as planned, to Decimomannu airbase, in Sardinia, Italy, where it will undergo operational testing in the Perdasdefogu range, before moving to Visdel, Sweden, for weapons trials.

The photos in this article were taken at Decimomannu airbase by photographers Giampaolo Mallei and Roberto Zanda as the aircraft recovered from one of its first sorties in Italy.

nEUROn Deci 2

Image credit: Giampaolo Mallei and Roberto Zanda

H/T to Giuseppe Stilo for providing additional details.


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.