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.

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Ivan
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Ivan

Yet the EU has stabbed us in the back with the Galileo GPS.
Sure you can have all our design secrets… we can trust you can’t we?

Dan
Guest
Dan

It was the UK that insisted that the rules governing the Galileo project should exclude non-EU countries, so it’s our stupid government at fault there.
In this case, however, I think we should agree to combine our fighter project with that of France and Germany – so long as it is called ‘Tempest’ and the UK is the design authority for the project!

Cam
Guest
Cam

Not sure the French will go for that one lol

Mark B
Guest
Mark B

The EU could change the rules if they wanted to Dan. We need to work with partners who are motivated to work quickly and effectively with us and are not going to drop out or move the goal posts for various spurious political and financial reasons. If that means fewer partners so be it.

Dan
Guest
Dan

Many European projects do tend to get mired in bureaucracy, so you are probably right about keeping it to a small number of partners. My earlier comment was more of a joke that we should agree to combine with France and Germany only if we get to be in control!

Callum
Guest
Callum

The only European defence projects that ever really go well are the ones lead by only one or two countries, which are then widely adopted. Unfortunately, that means any project with France is doomed to fail because they demand project lead.

Graham
Guest
Graham

The French currently have design lead, at most they will only accept joint lead with UK. That in itself will be a tough sell but if both sides are realistic it’s the only possible outcome that makes sense. A project like this can only be afforded if we combine the two.
Brexit should not make any difference it’s only being used now by Macron to secure French dominance of FCAS which is a big hurdle to overcome it will need the Germans to make a move and at the moment that’s unlikely but over time possible.

Steve H
Guest
Steve H

Don’t like the idea of joining in with the French and Germans…..the French will be lazy and expect everyone else to do it for them and the German will try and boss everyone else about and be authoritarian….neither of which we should even entertain in my opinion.

JME89
Guest
JME89

I hope we tell them to jog on.

AlbertStarburst
Guest
AlbertStarburst

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Have we not learnt the hard way from the past co-operations. Surely Tempest is an opportunity to break free and do our own thing and stimulate our own industry and innovation (and retain jobs and profits in the UK).

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

Totally agree with you AlbertStarburst. If we want to see Tempest flying this side of 2030, leave well alone!

AlbertStarburst
Guest
AlbertStarburst

Thanks Nigel. I hope we remember the Concord(e), MRCA, and Eurofighter projects. Just watch the costs and timescales escalate exponentially if we don’t. far better to go the Commonwealth/Scandie route.

Apologies for raising this again but in some areas, such as this, i think we need a Sovereign capability and not export it willy-nilly to those who may turn against us one day.

maurice10
Guest
maurice10

I thought we were doing it with the Swedes! If Airbus gets involved the UK profit will dissipate, and I understood the Germans and the French were doing their own thing? In reality, and based on the success of the Typhoon, maybe it would be fiscally wise to spread the risks?

Gavin Gordon
Guest
Gavin Gordon

Typhoon was essentially a British aircraft project, of course, which the French did not wish to join. Not sure on this one, Faury is talking some sort of sense and I get the cautious feeling that, as a non-political Frenchman, he does wish to maintain close technological ties with the UK/EU on all fronts – don’t We All (as in Europeans and Trading), though? Used to work indirectly under the EU on some matters of trade and know that nearly all issues between countries where standards are in alignment are resolvable to the greatest extent if there is the wish… Read more »

maurice10
Guest
maurice10

Thanks for a very interesting overview Gordon, and I’ve given more thought to combined projects. From the standpoint of logistics, the more partners there are and apart from amortising the overall costs, the likelihood of having a greater and more widespread supply of spare parts, in a time of crisis can not be ignored.

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

We won’t be doing our own thing on Tempest, we already have Sweden. I would much rather we truly do our own thing with Tempest, but if we have to collab with anyone I’d much rather take France and Germany, 2 truly great European countries.

The Big Man
Guest
The Big Man

A couple of points. This shows Tempest is gaining traction as Airbus are thinking there is a bigger prize at stake here and they are not involved. The French would then see an opportunity or feel left behind. Also. Look what happened to Typhoon when France did not get their way, hence the two competing jets. Too big a collaboration simply means more money, more time and less effective output. Let us stick with a small number of quality partners who have something to give and gain from, not disruptive members who will do their utmost to get their way… Read more »

ChariotRider
Guest
ChariotRider

Yes I agree. I wish we could do business with the French as they are a capable and determined partner. Unfortunately, that determination all too often spills into nationalistic self promotion to the exclusion of proper collaboration. We need to push ahead with Tempest until such time as it is too good a project for the rest to ignore. We did something like that with the Meteor AAM which started life as a UK national project and went quite someway into the project cycle before we opened it up to others. In essence, we got a properly defined and an… Read more »

Mike
Guest
Mike

Noting the ‘we’ in your posting, perhaps you should submit a business plan and numbers together with how much you individually intend to invest?

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

I’d much rather we collabed with truly great European countries like France and Germany than 3rd tier European countries like Sweden. We will end up with a much better product if we collab with France and Germany, they have much, much more to offer us than Sweden. Rather it is us who offer Sweden something.

SoleSurvivor
Guest
SoleSurvivor

I’m this far down the thread and you have said “truly great European countries” in reference to France and Germany twice, you sound like Donald Trump ffs

Sweden have developed and delivered a very capable and moderately successful fighter, can Germany even get a squadron of Eurofighter in the air?

Sweden is an elder statesman of Europe and is ahead of France and Germany in a number of areas that give a collaboration like this much more chance of success

And Italy certainly are not 3rd tier in Europe

It’s not all about size and GDP that make countries “truly great”

David Flandry
Guest
David Flandry

Agreed. The UK should go it alone, or with Sweden. Every “joint ” project has been to the detriment of the UK.

julian1
Guest
julian1

why do you think Sweden a 3rd tier country? Perhaps far smaller than UK but very capable and educated people with some great innovations

Gavin Gordon
Guest
Gavin Gordon

Always liked the look of the Gripen and don’t share the qualms bring aired here.

Gavin Gordon
Guest
Gavin Gordon

Love the word.

David
Guest
David

I really hope this doesn’t happen. Past endeavours should have taught us that not all our European partners are as reliable as we would like them to be.

France will demand the major work share and when she doesn’t get it will walk away with everyone else’s tech and knowledge to build a competing airframe. It will be typhoon all over again.

Lets get on and build our own airframe with partners that have something to bring to the table.

Robert blay
Guest
Robert blay

Except Typhoon has turned into a world beating capability. And the costs of going it alone would be eye watering for a 6th gen platform. Even the Americans struggled with the cost of developing and building 170 something F22’s. Let’s keep it real.

David
Guest
David

Hi Robert, I don’t disagree. The Rafael is a great plane too. How much better would typhoon have been if France had stayed onboard ? How much more advanced would it have been through its evolution and upgrades ? And how many more airframes would there be globally ? We will never know because France decided to complete against typhoon, creating increased costs and reduced airframe numbers. If we follow the same path with tempest we run the same risks. I’m glad Sweden are onboard they will bring a fresh approach and they are technically competent at building fighters. Italy… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Guest
Glass Half Full

A lot of weight is put on the term 6th gen but I’ve yet to see a definition, perhaps because there isn’t one, as it probably means different things to different constituencies. What I did take away from the Tempest program launch was a strong focus on spiral development out of Typhoon, which means leveraging existing, proven systems in an iterative way to advance capabilities while managing costs and avoiding commitment to project critical, expensive, unproven technologies. For example, a 6th gen platform might only marginally improve radar stealth over F35 primarily through air frame and especially control surface design,… Read more »

Robert blay
Guest
Robert blay

Good morning Glass half full. I agree that the development timeframe for Tempest to become a reality needs to be much shorter compared to previous projects, and the technology feeding through the Typhoon will hopefully help achieve that. It depends on what the actual requirement will be from the MOD, and what type of platform we require.

Gavin Gordon
Guest
Gavin Gordon

That is the definition of –th Gen. A technology that is out of date by the time it is introduced.

Mike
Guest
Mike

Noting the ‘us’ in your posting, perhaps you should submit a business plan and numbers together with how much you individually intend to invest?

Spyinthesky
Guest
Spyinthesky

Oh right so they weren’t interested when the Feanco German project was launched because they presumed there was no way the UK could itself form let alone lead such a project and would either lose its own expertise by buying American in the future or subservientlt beg to enter the Franco German project as a minor partner, giving them all our accumulated expertise with no real influence. Seems that their initial somewhat arrogant presumption has turned out to have feet of quicksand as things stand with rather more interested parties in Tempest than they clearly expected. I doubt that they… Read more »

Levi Goldsteinberg
Guest
Levi Goldsteinberg

We can build the knife for them that they can then stick on our back

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

As in take all the development data, have the jets built in Germany and France and then expect the RAF to put a large order in.

Propellerman
Guest

The French have realised that the Germans dont have the budget to be an equal partner and they wll end up shouldering most of the cost. it also makes common sense to tap into the brains that made the Eurofighter and the Grippen such effective combat platforms.

but weve been here before havent we? – Horizon Frigate, Typhoon…………

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

Think it’s more likely, the French have worked out that the Germans would probably veto sales to half the prospective customers!

Mike
Guest
Mike

And also renege on any potential purchases for spurious reasons. Air Defence Journal article 14 November 2019

https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/germany-refuses-delivery-of-two-a400m-transport-aircraft/

Cam
Guest
Cam

“The Germans don’t have the budget” and Germany’s the only G6 nation with a large budget surplus each year, I wonder why.

Expat
Guest
Expat

Mainly because other European nations have a negative effect on the Euro if Germany had us own currency it’s exports would be more expensive.

Rfn_Weston
Guest
Rfn_Weston

It’s my opinion that we should be steering well clear of any Airbus/Franco-German involvement whatsoever.

Past lesson dictate the direction that will take… and it will not be a good one. So naturally expect an announcement that we are joining teams early next year (eyeroll).

ChariotRider
Guest
ChariotRider

I agree with steering clear of Airbus / Franco-German involvement. Although I am not so sure about us just roling over to Franco-German overtures especially at this time. I actually think Tempest is part of our response to Brexit and it is a good one. We also have recent track record with regards to setting up, leading and controlling projects as the Meteor AAM started out as a UK only project and as I state above we went quite some way before inviting others on board pretty much on our terms. In addition, we got very stroppy with US corporates… Read more »

Monty
Guest
Monty

Sounds to me that Airbus are seriously concerned that any fighter that would be born from the ‘Team Tempest’ project could be a real threat to the Franco-German programme. Doesn’t help that Germany’s current attitude to the export market is that any potential customer needs a letter of recommendation from Amnesty International and whatever #movement is trending at the time (yes i’m being overly dramatic before anyone asks..)

Point is Team Tempest is a threat to them, and if they can’t beat us they would want to join us to get a slice of the action.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Sadly you just know we are daft enough to cave in, as always, with years of delay and wrangles over leadership and work share as the result.

HMG grow a pair. Partner with Sweden and Italy / Japan.

Steve R
Guest
Steve R

This. All 3 seem to be solid partners, more so than the French and Germans. Stick with reliable nations and we might just get a Tempest that’s roughly on time, roughly on budget, that we can afford in reasonable numbers. Should keep this plane simple, in terms of design. One plane, one variant, not carrier capable. Direct replacement for Typhoon. Then in time we can work on F35 replacement. I think if we stick to two combat airframes then it should be one carrier capable and one not, to remove temptation to reduce to a single type with fewer squadrons… Read more »

Jas
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Jas

The TSR2 er Tempest will never fly if we don’t combine the programmes, The UK Sweden Italy ( although Italy is only looking at not actually signed up to ) Have neither the skills base or the finances to make a 6th gen fighter.

Im looking forward to the tubthumping replies of Great Britain / Empire / For queen & country…

Rudeboy
Guest
Rudeboy

Exactly what skills are we missing…

Enquiring minds would like to know..

Cam
Guest
Cam

That’s not true atall, Britain alone could design and build a 6th gen fighter if the funds where there to do it, we have some amazing company’s and people in the UK, and we could and would attract great people from all over the world just like USA does.

loads of big American projects have british people working in them, for eg Apple has a Brit designer Jony Ive who designed the iMac, Power Mac G4 Cube, iPod, iPhone, iPad, MacBook, but everyone thinks they were by an american! But they weren’t. That’s just one example.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

I think the end statement – “Im looking forward to the tubthumping replies of Great Britain / Empire / For queen & country…” Gives a big clue…. Funnily enough, when that old chestnut rears it’s head it is always those with a genuine issue / chip on shoulder / types that mention it, as if we are all foaming at the mouth. Basically, the UK having any military power equals in their mind “Empire” Pull the other one. I’ve never met one person like that who still yearns for Empire. I get the impression those that wish for an Independent… Read more »

The Artist Formerly known as Los Pollos chicken
Guest
The Artist Formerly known as Los Pollos chicken

You heard it hear first folks JAS who I might add is a renowned leading expert in the design of aerospace engineering and has a direct line to HM gov and the Tempest consortium says “We have neither the skills or the finance” 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😝😝😝😝

The Woman From Delmonte
Guest
The Woman From Delmonte

Lol Britain invented the JET ENGINE and he says we haven’t got the skills base ? Ridiculous statement from another hater

Sean
Guest
Sean

Why would we partner with the enemy? 😉
We have Italy and Sweden onboard, time to look further a field for both technical contribution and opening up export markets.
Either Japan or South Korea would be a good choice, perhaps Australia too. Canada probably too much of a political nightmare given their antics with F35 purchase.

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

We are surely capable of producing the airframe. And as far as I can see we could produce the engine. It strikes me all of that is 5th generation. ie an improved F22. We can build that now with technology. Where do we go with “6th” Gen? Do any of us really know where that leads, beyond the glossy brochures. We will need to replace Typhoon at some point, or just move on to an improved Typhooon II. Isn’t it that the hard parts are the radars and the computers … the quasi artificial intelligence … that is the really… Read more »

ChariotRider
Guest
ChariotRider

I believe it was reported on UKDJ that Theresa May raised Japanese participation in Tempest when she visited Tokyo and the suggestion was not rejected out of hand at least. South Korea is developing their own 5th gen stealth fighter at the moment for which UK companies are beginning to win systems orders, so I doubt they would get on board with another project just at the moment. Could be wrong of course. I think Sweden in particular is a great partner. They developed 3 supersonic fighters since WW2, the Draken, the Vigen and of course the Gripen. All very… Read more »

peter french
Guest
peter french

Tell them “NO” France and Germany did not want us in their next generation Fighter development at the outset and now its different because of the consortium we have . France would want design leadership as always. So carry on BAe

Simon
Guest
Simon

One size does not fit all – surely that is the thing we have learned with Horizon/T45, Typhoon/Rafale, etc? Even the French and Italian FREMM are rather different!

geoff
Guest
geoff

B*ll*cks to that. The French will just steal our ideas then withdraw anyway..

Helions
Guest
Helions

VERY bad idea IMO. Bring the Japanese onboard (they’re already talking) along with Oz. The Tempest project will be very viable.

Cheers

Ernest Harrison
Guest
Ernest Harrison

NO: In any case the French abandoned Eurofighter Typhoon project. So hardly a reliable partner.

Sweden has joined the project and it looks like Italy will. So that is enough.

We need a British Fighter jet for the prestige of the UK, to provide jobs in the UK, in particular after BREXIT,

So: To Guillaume Faury – Thank you but – No thank’s

Stephen
Guest
Stephen

This only makes sense. Listen, the 3 big countries in Europe are Britain, Germany and France, if these 3 great countries combined our efforts we would end up with something spectacular.

Al
Guest
Al

3 great countries in economy yes! Defence Hellll No! ourUK needs to build our own fighter with help from junior partners like Sweden and Italy. Tell me the last time France and Germany built a world class defence platform

Levi Goldsteinberg
Guest
Levi Goldsteinberg

Together? U-boats I suppose

Glass Half Full
Guest
Glass Half Full

If we leave aside history, which granted is a big ask, then its also worth considering if its practical. France needs a carrier capable aircraft to replace Rafale at some point, since they are unlikely to willingly give up carrier ops and it seems very unlikely they will buy F35C, or F35B if they went STOVL for their CdG replacement. This means FCAS must include a carrier option and any merger with Tempest would also require that capability. However, if Sweden commits to a full air frame partnership in Tempest (not sure that’s the case yet?), then they would probably… Read more »

Alex
Guest
Alex

It seems like Britain never learns its lesson if it abandons Tempest and joins Franco German project or any foolish merger. First the UK gets no invitation at all then they start a fuss about Galileo GPS… and after Merkel openly said post brexit we see the UK as a competitor they try to sabotage Tempest and have the UK anchored their project and extract UK expertise and later claim it was a Franco German led project and get all the credit for and screw the UK along the way. France and Germany none of them have 5th generation aircraft… Read more »

Bob
Guest
Bob

No, no, no. We’re an independent nation We can build this alone and support our industry – or contract with more reliable partners who won’t stab us in the back a la Galileo.

Mr Bell
Guest
Mr Bell

No we should definitely not join a French /German joint project. Small numbers will only get built or once French and Germans have had access to all UK Tempest technology they will shut the joint work down.
I think either go it alone or join Sweden, Italy and Japan and develop a world beater. The Franco Germanic effort is doomed to failure, if we plow on they will eventually purchase our jet, the jet they say we dont have the capability to build.

John Clark
Guest
John Clark

Good points Mr Bell. One of the issues that sank France as a Eurofighter partner was their insisting on a Naval variant. This would have limited the aircraft’s size and added extra weight. If (got forbid) we got involved in “Eurofighter2”, we would have the French demanding carrier capability again, the Germans dragging their feet over payment and the whole thing descending into utter farce! It would be heavily compromised, expensive and very late! In case it isn’t clear, NO, NO, NO absolutely NO! We need to forge new alliances, not take backward steps with insular, protective, isolationist EU countries.… Read more »

Matt Hatton
Guest
Matt Hatton

Well..looks like that’s pretty unanimous. Sorry Mrs Merkel, Mr Macron…the answers NO.

Alex
Guest
Alex

NO NO NO it is a unanimous No on here ^^ Tempest is totally British concept and im not sure why when the UK partners with others its called a multi nations project? That never happens with the Americans. The F35 is called an American lead project and Britain is a tier 1 partner and others are tier 2 or 3 partner and those partners rarely get mentioned.. and why should they? It was not their idea to start of with they just are joining just to get a work share and benefit from the rewards. So Britains partners should… Read more »

Barry Larking
Guest
Barry Larking

Put simply: No.

Liam
Guest
Liam

What a daft suggestion. France and Germany are two terrible choices to partner with, for entirely different reasons. France will always put Dassault first and, despite being pro-EU has its own particular defence requirements and agenda. France is a great ally but not a great partner. Germany is the sick man of NATO. Italy and Sweden strike me as more compatible with the UK, we’ve had SAAB/BAE/SELEX/August Westland etc etc already and they have on the whole worked.

Mike
Guest
Mike

This would be the Airbus that repeatedly threatens to pull wing manufacturing over Brexit and that we foolishly gave control of our world leading satellite and pseudo satellite technology. Can we please just stand on our own two feet and allow our brilliant scientists and engineers to shine without some defeatist politicians or beauracrats messing it up and selling us down the river every time.

John Clark
Guest
John Clark

Well, that’s the strongest and almost unanimous message we sent for a while….

Summed up beautifully by Liam

“France is a great ally but not a great partner”

Germany will find that out too….

This statement seems to indicate the Europeans are increasingly worried as BREXIT seems almost cast in stone and Tempest gathers pace.

The next step in the project is of particular concern to them, as Tempest breaks out of fortress Europe and brings in players from SE Asia and elsewhere…

They desperately want to keep this as a European project, hopefully, a single European project…

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

“without some defeatist politicians or beauracrats messing it up and selling us down the river every time.”

I don’t think HM opposition parties are listening….

Rob N
Guest
Rob N

Airbus is the EU’s poodle! They always talk about European Sovereignty while forgetting there are Sovereign states in Europe that are not EU.

You cannot trust Airbus they are all political.

Ron
Guest
Ron

Erm No. Lets look at some of the issues, the UK, Germany and France have diffrent needs and requirements when it come to air power. Germany for example needs two types of aircraft, a modern A-10 Warthog and a modern BAC Lightning. One is a well protected flying tank destroyer the other is a fast climbing dog-fighter. The UK needs range and deep penatration, so stealth. Yes for Germany and for that matter Poland a deep penatration/strike combat aircraft would be useful but it is not a must. Then again all three countries have diffrent needs and requirements when it… Read more »

Steve H
Guest
Steve H

I do agree with a lot of what you’ve said, wherever you mention negative results, issues, problems etc, it always has one common denominator……..FRANCE!!!!! We must never do a project on this scale with the French, they’re an absolute disaster….

DaveyB
Guest
DaveyB

I wondered how long it was going to take for France/Germany to realise the Tempest aircraft has more potential then their FCAS project. Neither France or Germany are involved with building parts for the F35. Why is that important? It’s partially due to how the whole aircraft’s system networks together, which is a step change to how 4th generation aircraft systems operate. This determines how efficient the sensor fusion operates, but also defines how the aircraft’s future growth is planned out and developed. If we look at Typhoon/Rafale the system architecture does not lend itself for systems to be easily… Read more »

Steve Martin
Guest
Steve Martin

I’d love to like this post but instead I’ll settle for posting 🙂 Bravo!

Expat
Guest
Expat

I think it’s highly likely that Tempest will be cancelled. Too many big spending promises being made zero substance on defence from either party.

Phil
Guest
Phil

French left the euro fighter because they wanted french engines. Any project involving the cheese eaters ends in tears. We shouldn’t get involved with anything that has french involvement.

TopBoy
Guest
TopBoy

As much as I dislike what certain European partners have done to us in the past, I am actually welcoming this news. Let’s hope we all stick to the program and get it done

David Barry
Guest
David Barry

Non, nein, no. Industrially, the fffFrench have form for gutting British industry and form for being unreliable defence manufacturing partners; the Germans have form for being tighter than a shrimp’s arrse. The Swedes have form for impressive aeronautics that see their whole life cost effective products in competition with American platforms, and winning. BAE have form for being bog and expensive while the the Italians have form for style and performance, I’m not at all biased even though I do own PX200E. Give the design to the Swedes and Italians through licensed IPR, sit back, (Sit down BAE) and enjoy… Read more »

SD67
Guest
SD67

NO No NO NO No No No

So many reasons no.

1) The French will take all the profit
2) The Germans will tie it up in red tape over order then cut their order back
3) They’re 4 years behind Tempest
4) To the best of my knowledge they don’t have an engine
5) Both are increasingly anti-US

thats enough for now

David Adams
Guest
David Adams

spot on

David Adams
Guest
David Adams

i read something about the Japanese & Lockheed martin potentially building an f22 repacement would it not be better to pitch in with then using Lockheed’s design as an all-weather fighter bomber and the tempest as an out and out fighter plus drown i did read at the outset tempest was meant to be a fighter plus un-mand project

Steve H
Guest
Steve H

If it’s a French aircraft, does it have an automatic “surrender” button or switch?