Airbus and Dassault to partner on next generation fighter jet


The Future Combat Air System’s networking capabilities (Image: Airbus) 

Airbus and Dassault Aviation are to jointly develop and produce Europe’s next generation of fighter jet.

The Future Combat Air System (FCAS) will phase out and then replace the Eurofighter and Rafale fighter aircraft between 2035 and 2040. Airbus is part of the Eurofighter consortium, whereas Dassault makes the Rafale.

The companies are already partnering on the development of a medium altitude long endurance next generation drone.

Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space said, “Never before has Europe been more determined to safeguard and foster its political and industrial autonomy and sovereignty in the defence sector. Airbus and Dassault Aviation have the right expertise to lead the FCAS project.

“The schedule is tight, so we need to start working together immediately by defining a joint roadmap on how best to meet the requirements and timelines to be set by the two nations. It is therefore of key importance that France and Germany launch an initial joint study this year to address this task.”

FCAS will develop a next generation fighter aircraft able to operate with long-endurance drones, the existing fleet of aircraft and future cruise missiles swarms. The overall FCAS system will be interoperable and connected with mission aircraft, satellites, NATO systems and land and naval combat systems.

Eric Trappier, chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation, said, “Both companies intend to work together in the most pragmatic and efficient manner.

“Our joint roadmap will include proposals to develop demonstrators for the FCAS programme as of 2025. I am convinced that European sovereignty and strategic autonomy can and will only be ensured through independent European solutions.

“The vision that France and Germany have set forth with FCAS is a bold one and it’s an important signal in, and for, Europe. The FCAS program will strengthen the political and military ties between Europe’s core nations and it will reinvigorate its aerospace industry.”

The companies added in a statement that they agree on “the involvement of other key European defence industrial players and nations based on government funding and the principle of best contribution”.

The Eurofighter consortium also involves the UK’s BAE Systems and Italy’s Leonardo.

April 25, 2018

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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