The UK and France recently announced a £1.54bn project to build a prototype of the Future Combat Air System, a defence minister has confirmed that work on this project is progressing despite earlier worries over Brexit
Britain’s approaching exit from the European Union has been a key factor in growing uncertainty over the project, according to the chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.
“Naturally, Brexit worries the British authorities, and not just the British authorities but also British industry,” Eric Trappier said March the 8th at a media conference on 2017 financial results.
“We are at a time when it has to be decided to launch, or not, a demonstrator for a combat drone.”
However Guto Bebb, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, has recently indicated that the FCAS project is now progressing:
“The Future Combat Air System Technology Initiative was announced as part of the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review and consists of three core strands of activity on developing Combat Air technologies: international projects, including our work with France; national projects; and an open mission system architecture project.
We are working closely with UK Industry teams, who are on contract to develop key technologies for any future system. We are in discussion with industry and international partners to inform the Combat Air Strategy being developed following the announcement by the Secretary of State for Defence on 21 February 2018.”
In 2012 France and the UK signed an MoU for an unmanned Future Combat Air System, which will build upon the BAE Systems Taranis and Dassault nEURON demonstrators.
Under the terms of an Anglo-French development contract announced in 2014, parts from the Taranis will be combined with the Dassault nEUROn in a joint European UCAV.
The demonstration programme – the most advanced of its kind in Europe – “will be centred on a versatile UCAS platform that could serve as a basis for a future operational capability beyond 2030.”