French aircraft manufacturer Dassault shows off its distinct aircraft product categories in spectacular cinematic fashion! Seeing their nEUROn technology demonstrator unamnned combat air vehicle (UCAV), 4.75 generation Rafale fighter, and the stunning tri-motor Falcon 7X in tight formation is truly drool worthy, although the focus seems to be clearly on the nEUROn.
The nEUROn unmanned aircraft concept was developed by a new consortium of European aerospace firms, with Dassault at its head, in an attempt confront new technologies and concepts related to designing, building and employing advanced unmanned combat systems and stealth technology. Also, the idea is that the nEUROn program will maintain expertise and combat aircraft knowledge within the European defense sector during a time where no new fighters are being designed by the companies involved.
What came before nEUROn was a more French-centric project that originated from the late 1990s. It was focused on building a series of sub-scale and full-scale unmanned aircraft, ending in the "Grand Duc," otherwise "Grand Duke" in English, a large twin engine stealth unmanned attack aircraft. By the early 2000's Dassault ended the initiative, instead moving forward with a euro-centric consortium with the goal of building a smaller, fighter sized demonstrator, the nEUROn. The plan is that nEUROn will eventually turn into a larger, semi autonomous system, that will compete with US unmanned combat air vehicle designs such as Northrop Grumman's X-47B, Boeing's Phantom Ray and Lockheed's Ghost.
Currently, the nEUROn, in its subscale form, is powered by an Adour engine, the same that powers the BAe Hawk advanced training aircraft. Should the nEUROn program progress into an full sized prototype, which it almost certainly will, the aircraft will almost certainly use a tuned, non-afterburning variant of the Rafale's M88 turbofan to move its larger mass through the skies at high speed. Yet even in its smaller developmental form, the nEUROn packs a weapons bay capable of carrying a pair of 500lb guided weapons.
This is supposedly the first promo video shot with an unmanned combat aircraft in formation with manned aircraft. You have to hand it to the French, between the Mirage fighter jet family and the Falcon business jet family it is evident that they design beautiful products, and apparently they know how to promote them in a beautiful way as well.
For more on the nEUROn check out Dassault's website.