Role Reconnaissance and UCAV
National origin Germany and Spain
Manufacturer EADS
First flight 2 April 2006

The EADS Barracuda was a jet powered unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), EADS, used for the role of aerial reconnaissance and also combat (like UCAV).[1] The aircraft was a joint venture between Germany and Spain.

Development of the project was stopped after the first prototype crashed at Mar Menor while approaching for landing during a test flight.[2] The program was resumed in 2008, with a second prototype being completed in November 2008. The rebuilt Barracuda underwent a series of successful flight tests in Goose Bay, Canada during July 2009,[3] followed by further flight campaigns in 2010[4] and 2012.[5]

The Barracuda's primary competition was Dassault nEUROn for strategic and defensive contracts. Both were stealthy and had a maximum air speed of around Mach 0.85. While Germany and Spain were behind the Barracuda, France, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, Greece, and Spain as well funded the nEUROn.[6] It had an operating ceiling of around 20,000 ft (6,096 m) and carried a maximum payload of 300 kg.[7]

It was retired after six test campaigns.


The remains of the aircraft 99+80 with reconstructed wings

The Barracuda originated as a UAV design study, intended to push EADS into the market for medium-altitude long-range UAVs, a market they viewed as dominated by the United States and Israel.[8] Its development began in 2003, with its official debut at the 2006 International Aerospace Exhibition, where military applications and specifications for the Barracuda were revealed.[9] The Barracuda crashed in Mar Menor at Region de Murcia during a 2006 test flight, which put the project on hold until 2008.[9] EADS' current focus is to get the Barracuda certified for unregulated flight in Germany's designated airspace, while the long-term goal is to have it certified for non-segregated airspace.[10]

They also planned to develop the Barracuda as a modular platform, so that it could be refitted for various roles like maritime patrol.[11] Offensive capabilities were not planned, but it could carry weapons if customers expressed interest for it. The Barracuda could also be capable of carrying weapon systems. The systems could be installed in the central payload bay.

Germany also discussed a partnership with Sweden and Italy for a multinational unmanned aerial vehicle effort in order to compete with the French-led Dassault nEUROn programme.[12] Spain, Italy and Sweden were already participants in the French-led effort.[13]

The Barracuda's maiden flight took place in April, 2006 at a remote location on the Iberian Peninsula.[14] The flight was a success but the prototype crashed into the water of Mar Menor during a test flight just off the Spanish coast of Region de Murcia on September 23, 2006.


This article needs to be updated. Please help update this section to reflect recent events or newly available information. (January 2010)

The Barracuda was based on commercially available 'off the shelf' components, but also many refined systems.[9] Its fuselage was constructed entirely from carbon fibre,[6] but also had a greater strength to weight ratio than traditional aircraft materials such as aluminum (the structure of the Eurofighter Typhoon and Boeing 787 Dreamliner were also made significantly out of it).[9] The only significant metal component was the wing spar, running through the middle and reinforcing the wings. The wing spar allowed for easy removal of the wings for transportation. The Barracuda used a specially shaped fuselage, including S-duct air inlet and V-tail, to scatter deflected radar, rendering the UCAV as a stealth drone.[6]

After its retirement, its technology is said to be repurposed in the Eurodrone, and the Future Combat Air System. [15]


Data from [7]

General characteristics


See also

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era


  1. ^ UAV demonstrator opens up new technology perspectives for EADS Archived 2006-06-18 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ EADS Stops Barracuda UCAV Demonstrator Development Archived 2008-07-05 at the Wayback Machine,, 13 September 2007
  3. ^ EADS press release on Barracuda flight tests in Canada, 2009[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Cassidian Barracuda page Archived 2013-01-19 at
  5. ^ Cassidian press release on 2012 Barracuda flight campaign Archived 2012-08-23 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ a b c GALLET, Matthieu. "EADS Barracuda". Retrieved 2020-12-01.
  7. ^ a b "Barracuda Demonstrator Unmanned Air Vehicle Developed by EADS Military Air Systems - Army Technology". Retrieved 2020-11-17.
  8. ^ Barracuda Archived 2006-06-19 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ a b c d "The Stealthy Barracuda UAV Is Germany's Future Flying Force". Gizmodo. 17 October 2013. Retrieved 2020-11-18.
  10. ^ "One step beyond". Flight Global. 2006-06-13. Retrieved 2020-12-01.
  11. ^ High-speed Barracuda could spawn modular UAV family - ILA show report[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ Germany, Italy and Sweden hold project talks on 'Agile' advanced UAV in bid to beat French-led Neuron
  13. ^ Important player in Neuron Archived 2006-06-13 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ - EADS Barracuda Archived 2006-06-19 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ ""The father of them all": How the Barracuda drone's legacy flies on". Airbus. May 30, 2023. Retrieved December 20, 2023.