Just hours before the Paris air show officially opened its doors for business, EADS Cassidian, Dassault Aviation and Finmeccanica finally buried the hatchet and announced that they are ready to cooperate on a European medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned air vehicle (UAV) program.

For years, EADS and Dassault have each worked on their own MALE projects, the result being that neither has gotten very far.

In a joint statement issued June 16, the three European companies say: “Such a joint program would support the capability needs of European armed forces while optimizing the difficult budgetary situation through pooling of research and development funding.”

They also suggest that “critical requirements around the certification of drones, allowing their safe passage and operation in European airspace, would inherently be built into the program from the onset.”