The deal was signed in Berlin. (Photo courtesy of Airbus)
Airbus and Dassault Aviation are joining forces to develop Europe’s Future Combat Air System (FCAS), which is slated to complement and eventually replace the current generation of Eurofighter and Rafale fighter aircraft between 2035 and 2040.
The partnership was sealed in Berlin by Dirk Hoke, Airbus Defence and Space CE,O and Eric Trappier, Dassault Aviation CEO.
“Airbus and Dassault Aviation have absolutely the right expertise to lead the FCAS project. Both companies are already cooperating successfully on Europe’s medium-altitude, long-endurance, new-generation drone program,” Hoke said. “The schedule is tight, so we need to start working together immediately by defining a joint roadmap on how best to meet the requirements and timelines to be set by the two nations. It is therefore of key importance that France and Germany launch an initial joint study this year to address this task.”
"Our joint roadmap will include proposals to develop demonstrators for the FCAS programme as of 2025," Trappier said. "I am convinced that European sovereignty and strategic autonomy can and will only be ensured through independent European solutions. The vision that France and Germany have set forth with FCAS is a bold one, and it’s an important signal in, and for, Europe. The FCAS program will strengthen the political and military ties between Europe’s core nations, and it will reinvigorate its aerospace industry.”
Overall, FCAS defines a system of systems combining a wide range of elements connected and operating together, including a next-generation fighter aircraft together with medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft system (UAS), the existing fleet of aircraft (which will still operate beyond 2040), future cruise missiles and drones flying in swarms. The overall system will be interoperable and connected in a larger perimeter with mission aircraft, satellites, NATO systems and land and naval combat systems.