Early 2019, France and Germany entrusted Airbus and Dassault a contract on concept and architecture for the Future Combat Air System program. Contractors hope the Paris Air Show will lead to contracts for the development of demonstrators.
Since the beginning of 2019, the FCAS program has accelerated. On February 6th, the French Ministry of the Armed Forces and the German Federal Ministry of Defence have announced the notification of a contract on concept and architecture to Airbus and Dassault. This study should last two years and benefit from a €65 million budget, equally financed by each nation. France already advanced part of the budget while the German parliament was still voting on it. They finally did on June 5th.
Alongside Airbus and Dassault Aviation, multiple French and German industries were involved: Thales, Safran and MBDA France on one side and Hensoldt, ESG, Diehl Aero, Diehl Defence, MBDA Germany, Rohde & Schwartz and MTU on the other side of the Rhine river. In February, Safran and MTU have signed an industrial cooperation agreement for the motorisation of the next-generation fighter. As of now, Spanish contractors have not taken part in these studies, though the Spanish Ministry of Defence is already involved in the program.
Industrials henceforth hope to quickly obtain contracts for demonstrators' development. “What we asked for several months is the parallel launch of demonstrators to prevent time loss in the performance of know-how, and technologies to serve the preparation of the operational FCAS”, explains Dassault Aviation President Eric Trappier during an interview that will be published in the Air & Cosmos special publication on the Paris Air Show, available on June 14th.
Demonstrators' contracts should concern the NGF, which should fly by 2026, but also the fighter future engine or drones (called “Remote Carriers”) and weapons and perhaps the System-of-Systems.