Cassidian, on behalf of EADS Deutschland GmbH, and Turkish Aerospace Industries Inc. (TAI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish close collaboration in the Talarion programme. Talarion is the European programme for a next-generation Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) advanced Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) to fulfill the requirements initially placed by France, Germany and Spain for future unmanned long endurance surveillance and reconnaissance missions. The novel aspect of this approach is a modular design and the integration of the UAV in a network-enabled operations scenario.

Turkey has long advocated participation in this major European programme with the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) agreeing significant investment and integration in the Talarion prototype programme team by major Turkish industry companies led by TAI. The prototype will be the first development standard following an interactive design approach, with its first flight scheduled for 2014. To achieve this goal, Cassidian has created a dedicated co-located plateau phase with engineers from France, Spain, Turkey and Germany including the main suppliers. Currently, around 160 engineers are working in the Talarion plateau.

Being the first Unmanned Aerial System that will operate within civil airspace, Talarion can be used for a variety of security missions such as anti-piracy, drug control, border protection and ecological and natural crisis management.

"Cassidian is very pleased and honored today to welcome TAI as part of the Talarion Team," said Bernhard Gerwert, CEO of Cassidian Air Systems, adding, "This next-generation MALE UAS is of outmost importance since it will fulfill government security missions and commercial activities which are not accessible to current solutions and their derivatives. With this industrial commitment we strongly believe that the potential customers will decide soon to support this unique product."

"We look forward to the progress of this programme which offers the highest performance of its class, incorporating the most modern modular sensor suite and data links," explained Muharrem Dörtkaşlı, CEO and president, Turkish Aerospace Industries, Inc. "TAI is very proud to integrate such a challenging breakthrough, paving the way to a new generation of operational capabilities."