According to the Economic Times, the project could cost up to $1.2 billion, and will see three companies, Airbus, Dassault and Alenia Aermacchi team up. They'll be tasked with building a Medium Altitude, Long Endurance (MALE) craft that can stay in the air for up to a day at a time. The craft will be predominantly designed for intelligence work, but will also be able to carry a "variety of payloads," which could mean they're pressed into duty for both military and civilian operations.
The deal that's been signed today will see the companies draw up plans for the vehicle over the next two years. After that point, officials will put their heads together to see if it's worth coughing up the rest of the cash to actually build it. If it all goes well, the first "solutions," will be delivered by 2020 -- and no, you're not mistaken, solutions is a pretty cute way to describe an airborne spying robot.