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Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Unmanned Aircraft Systems

UAS solutions for military and commercial applications

The future of autonomous flight – certifiable, safe and secure – begins with Airbus. The company’s heritage in manned flight is leveraged to supply robust, dependable unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

Airbus has supported military forces for nearly a decade with unmatched performance, and its systems have been deployed for missions in such combat zones as Afghanistan and Mali.


European MALE RPAS

On 29 May 2019, Airbus Defence and Space Germany has submitted its offer for OCCAR’s European MALE RPAS programme. The offer comes with an extraordinary setup of the programme, which will provide the European Nations with an unmanned aerial system with outstanding capabilities, and will grant them, and the European industry, the sovereignty they need and deserve.

In its offer, Airbus committed to a very challenging timeline for the development, enabling our customers to enter into service already in 2027, based on a timely development start. Contract negotiations are currently ongoing.

The MALE RPAS will be designed to become one of the main pillars of any future combat air system, prepared for real integration into civil airspace based on minimal restrictions and easy transportability due to its modular design. All anticipated roles, whether for homeland operations, ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance) or even armed ISTAR, can be conducted with full operational sovereignty and, thanks to its anticipated design, there will be superior growth potential for the future.

European MALE RPAS

The programme was actually launched back in September 2016, when OCCAR awarded a contract for a definition study for the European MALE RPAS to industrial partners organised into a co-contracting group, which successfully passed the system’s Preliminary Design Review (PDR) in November 2018.

So for the first time, the requirements and specifications for a project had been negotiated and aligned between the end-users (Germany, Spain, France and Italy) and the contracting authority (OCCAR), as well as on the industrial side with all major participating industry partners (Dassault Aviation, Leonardo and Airbus Spain), before an offer for full development and production had been submitted and a contract had been awarded.

This has led to a contractual setup with only one contracting authority and one prime contractor on the industrial side, which will provide clear communication lines and clear responsibilities:

A diagram of the contractual setup for Europe’s MALE RPAS unmanned aerial vehicle programme.

The MALE RPAS programme is seen as a ‘lighthouse’ programme, not only within Airbus, but also for the entire aeronautics industry in Europe and shall be the basis for future defence progammes, such as the Future Combat Air System.

Airbus will apply a Digital Design, Manufacturing and Service (DDMS) system that will not only pave the way for significant improvements to development times and cost reductions, but will increase quality at the same time. DDMS will also be the backbone of an advanced logistics concept that will be set up so that training can start during the development phase and be fully rolled out for initial in-service support.

A diagram with basic statistics on the MALE RPAS unmanned aerial vehicle.

All of the innovations described above can be seen as groundbreaking for future European defence projects, since they differ in many aspects when compared to previous projects.

Additional information

European MALE RPAS unveiling ceremony

The first full scale model of the European Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft (MALE RPAS) was unveiled on 26th April 2018 during a ceremony held at the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show.

Watch here the unveiling ceremony of European MALE RPAS:


Airbus, Dassault Aviation and Leonardo reaffirm their total commitment in the first fully European MALE programme.

Read more here:


Tactical Unmanned Aerial System, ATLANTE ensures intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions by day and night for ground forces deployed in theatre.

System Capacity

  • ?Four or more air vehicles
  • ?Easily Deployable on Theatre by air, ground or sea
  • ?Landing gear system designed to opérate from unprepared runways

ATLANTE offers several operational capabilities through its basic concept of employment or through the combination of different configurations.

For more information about Atlante, please email to?

Download Atlante brochure

Mini UAS (Survey Copter)

SURVEY Copter, an Airbus subsidiary, fully designs fixed and rotary wings mini-UAVs. SURVEY Copter develops all of its UAV systems:? aerial platform, ground station, data link, EO/IR turrets and integrates its own flight computers, implementing the most advanced algorithms developed by its Swiss subsidiary weControl AG.

?More information on Mini UAS?


The KZO is a tactical UAS with a powerful 2-stroke gasoline engine.

It is an unmanned aircraft especially suited for high speed reconnaissance missions. The gathered information is immediately available and can quickly be distributed in the command structure.

Large operational area

KZO can operate to a distance of up to 140 km with a 35 kg payload for up to 5.5 hours at a time

Use KZO for:

  • Land surveillance
  • Search and rescue
  • Reconnaissance, surveillance and target? acquisition
  • Convoy and VIP protection
  • Providing image and communications intelligence
  • Monitoring critical infrastructure and major events

Getting the whole picture

KZO provides the real-time situational awareness needed to take charge of the mission before other systems and personnel arrive. It is operational under any weather condition, day and night.

To see without being seen

KZO can observe without being detected itself. It is small, made of composite material and designed for stealth operation. It has very low thermal, optical and acoustic signatures.

Because of its jamming-resistant data transmission system, KZO can provide secure surveillance.

Robust and flexible setup

KZO has multiple launch options. It can be launched by booster or catapult, and land automatically by parachute and airbag.

KZO can operate under stormy weather conditions. It is equipped with a de-icing system and the capability to be launched with cross-winds of 20 m/s.

Booster-assisted launch is possible in winds of up to 15 m/s and in squalls of 10 m/s, regardless of the wind direction.

Field proven

Since 2009, KZO has served as a tactical UAS for the German Armed Forces in Afghanistan. UAVs delivered by Airbus Defence and Space for the German Armed Forces have proven their value in more than 1,000 missions over the years.

KZO is extremely reliable and has been certified by the German Aviation Authorities.? For more information about KZO, please email to?


Wingspan  3.42 m 
Length:  2.25 m 
Max altitude (ASL):  4.000 m 
Max speed: 220 km/h 

Why choose KZO?

  • Fast reactions: provides real-time images and video, under all weather conditions.
  • Fast response: provides target coordinates directly to the artillery.
  • Mobile operations thanks to its flexibility: requires no local or fixed infrastructure. Operations can be carried out directly in theatre.
  • Undetected: extremely difficult to detect because of its very low thermal, optical and acoustic signature
  • Robust: cross-wind resistance of 20m/s, and anti-icing system
  • Flexible: booster or catapult launch and automatic parachute landing
  • Proven capability: more than 1000 successful missions by the German Armed Forces in Afghanistan since 2009.

Download KZO brochure

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