The first prototype of the new aircraft could appear by 2020, according to defence sources. BAE Systems said it expected that tomorrow's summit, originally scheduled for December last year, would pave the way for a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) design and development programme, and an unmanned combat air system demonstrator programme. In 2010, the company said it was in talks with Dassault Aviation about working together on developing UAVs, which are used for both intelligence gathering and attack missions. The two companies are in competition to sell conventional fighter jets. Only last week, France's Dassault won a bid to sell 126 fighter jets to India, dashing BAE hopes of securing the contract. This new anglo-french partnership comes at a difficult time for the defence industry. On Thursday, BAE - Europe's biggest defence contractor and Britain's biggest manufacturer employer - warned that budget cuts by the UK and US governments had led to a 14 per cent fall in its revenues last year, resulting in a £19.2bn fall in sales. £45bn cost of a drone The new drone will be built according to performance targets set by EU countries, but qualities to be considered will include the aircraft's visibility, how long it can stay in the air, and whether they will be used for surveillance or attack.