COMPROMISED Launched in 2017, the Future Air Combat System (FAS), which also includes drones, is expected to enter service by 2040 < p>
It is supposed to replace the French Rafale (above) and German and Spanish Eurofighter in 2040. — Emmanuel DUNAND /AFP
The skirmishes between Dassault and Airbus lasted; over a year. Industrialists have finally managed to an agreement for the expensive and complex European combat aircraft project, said this Friday from concordant sources. “After intense negotiations, an agreement between industry has been reached for the next phase of the programme” of the Future Air Combat System (FAS), said the German Ministry of Defense in a press release; diffused to Berlin.
“The political agreement on FCAS is a great step forward and – especially in the current international context – an important signal of the excellent cooperation between France, Germany and Spain” , reacted the French presidency in a press release, stressing that “France ensures the role of leader of the project”.
“We can confirm that discussions between industry and governments on the next phase of FCAS have been successful, which is a big step forward for this flagship European defense programme” , reacted for its part the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus. “Now a number of formal steps in the respective countries need to be completed in order to enable a quick signing of the contract which we will have to comply with,” he added.< /p>
Launched in 2017, the Future Air Combat System (FAS), which also includes drones, is expected to be developed. enter into service at; the 2040 horizon. At the end of August 2021, the three countries concerned, France, Germany and Spain, had signed a an agreement providing 3.6 billion euros for detailed studies to launch the construction of a flight demonstrator in 2025. But the contracts had not been passed due to a lack of agreement on the sharing of tasks between the French manufacturer Dassault Aviation and its main partner, Airbus.
A “combat cloud”
Airbus and Dassault were unable to to agree on the distribution of tasks on pillar 1 – the combat aircraft itself – the last of the nine pillars of the program on which discussions between industrialists stumbled. But Airbus had demonstrated on Monday his optimism about an agreement before the end of the year with Dassault. This essential agreement to the continuation of the program comes as the French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne is expected on November 25 in Germany, where she will meet Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
This visit will be an opportunity for Paris to put some oil in the cogs of the Franco-German engine which had seized up. on energy and defense issues. The SCAF program is a “system of systems” which revolves around the aircraft with accompanying drones, all connected, via a “combat cloud”, with the other military means engaged in an operation.
100 billion euros
It is supposed to replace in 2040 the French Rafale and German and Spanish Eurofighter. The total cost of the program – some 100 billion euros mentioned – is such that it is not possible to carry it out. the national, but European scale, underlined its promoters.
But Franco-German cooperation in the field of defense has struggled. to materialize on several projects, in addition to the SCAF: the new combat tank program known as MGCS, supposed to to enter service around 2035, remains bogged down in the rivalries between the Franco-German KNDS — bringing together the German KMW and the French Nexter — and Germany's Rheinmetall. By announcing at the end of February an envelope of 100 billion euros for the defense, Olaf Scholz had recalled that FCAS and MGCS were a “priority” absolute” and this, despite the recent purchase of American F-35 aircraft, which will be used primarily for Berlin to transport American nuclear missiles as part of NATO’s deterrence operations.