The governments of Germany and France have granted the first contract to manufacturers Airbus and Dassault to jointly develop the first conceptual studies for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) program that is expected to originate a Friday fighter aircraft generation by 2040. The announcement was made by the French military minister, Florence Parly, and her German colleague, Ursula von der Leyen, at a meeting in Paris on Wednesday (6).
In a statement, the two companies said the decision “represents a milestone to ensure European sovereignty and technological leadership in the military aviation industry in the coming decades.” The work, scheduled to last two years, will begin on February 20.
“This new step is the cornerstone to ensure tomorrow’s European strategic autonomy. We, Dassault Aviation, will mobilize our competencies as a system architect and integrator, to meet the requirements of the nations and to keep our continent as a world leader in the crucial field of air combat systems, “says Eric Trappier, chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.
Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defense and Space, said: “FCAS is one of the most ambitious European defense programs of the century. With today’s contract signature, we are finally setting this high-technology program fully in motion. Both companies are committed to providing the best solutions to our Nations with regard to the New Generation Fighter as well as the systems of systems accompanying it. We are truly excited about having this opportunity and appreciate the trust placed in both our companies. ”
The FCAS program envisions the creation of a sixth generation “highly capable fighter with a set of new and improved weapons,” as companies explained, as well as a set of unmanned systems.
Airbus has already been involved in studies on a new next generation fighter since 2016 and Dassault in October last year presented a model of the NGF (New Generation Fighter) project, which also provides for the creation of an aircraft military high performance. Under the new agreement, the efforts of the two manufacturers in this area can be combined.
The final result of the FCAS program could lead to a new fighter that will replace the current models Airbus Eurofighter Typhoon, operated in Germany, and the Dassault Rafale, used by the French Air Force.