Guillaume Faury, the chief executive of Airbus has called for a single European fighter jet programme, merging British and continental European efforts.
Speaking to John Collingridge in an interview in The Sunday Times, Faury said it would make sense to combine Europe’s two next-generation combat aircraft programmes — Tempest, which involves the UK, Italy and Sweden, and the Franco-German Future Combat Air System.
“Europe needs one strong project for securing its air and space sovereignty,” he said. “Can we do one project today at the time of Brexit? Probably not. So, it’s important that the FCAS [Franco-German project] keeps moving forward. Will there be a possibility to have one European project at a later stage? I hope so.”
The British Tempest programme was announced last year as France and Germany started work on their own Future Combat Air System. In July 2019, Sweden and the United Kingdom signed a memorandum of understanding to explore ways of jointly developing sixth-generation air combat technologies. Italy also announced its involvement in Project Tempest in September 2019, during DSEI 2019.
At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show, Dassault Aviation and Airbus announced an agreement to cooperate on the development of a stealth fighter jet as a replacement for French Rafale, German Eurofighter and Spanish F-18 Hornets, called Future Combat Air System.