France and Germany have awarded the first-ever contract – a Joint Concept Study – to Dassault Aviation and Airbus for the Future Combat Air System FCAS programme.
The launch of the JCS was announced by the French Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, and her German counterpart, Ursula von der Leyen, at a meeting last week in Paris.
The decision by both countries represents what they call “a milestone to secure European sovereignty and technological leadership in the military aviation sector for the coming decades”.
The starting date for the two-year study is 20 February 2019.
Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation, said:
“This new step is the cornerstone to ensure tomorrow’s European strategic autonomy. We, as Dassault Aviation, will mobilize our competencies as System Architect and Integrator, to meet the requirements of the Nations and to keep our continent as a world-class leader in the crucial field of Air Combat Systems.”
Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, said:
“FCAS is one of the most ambitious European defence programmes of the century. With today’s contract signature, we are finally setting this high-technology programme 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 been given this opportunity and appreciate the trust placed in both our companies.”
Overall, FCAS defines a system of systems combining a wide range of elements connected and operating together, including a next generation fighter aircraft together with Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, the existing fleet of aircraft (which will still operate beyond 2040), future cruise missiles and drones flying in swarms.
The overall system will be interoperable and connected in a larger perimeter with mission aircraft, satellites, NATO systems and land and naval combat systems.