The flight off the coast of the south of France took place on March 20, and for almost two hours the nEUROn kept station with the other planes as they flew over the several hundred kilometers out over the Mediterranean. According to Dassault, this was the first time an unmanned combat aircraft achieved formation flight.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) have come a long way in the past couple of decades, but they still have some trouble areas that keep them from becoming really practical. One is that no matter how sophisticated the sensors or complex the algorithms, a UAV can’t glance over its shoulder or catch a movement out of the corner of its eye. That means that UAVs have a lot of trouble with situational awareness. In other words, they can’t tell where other planes are. This makes for general safety issues and makes the formation flying that’s key to military operations especially difficult.
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