Airbus and Dassault team on next European combat aircraft

written by australianaviation.com.au | April 26, 2018

FCAS would replace the Eurofighter and Rafale fighters.

Airbus and Dassault Aviation have announced they will team to develop and produce Europe’s Future Combat Air System (FCAS).
Designed to replace German Eurofighter and French Dassault Rafale fighters in service from 2035, the FCAS program is intended to secure European sovereignty and technological leadership in the military aviation sector for the coming decades.
“Never before has Europe been more determined to safeguard and foster its political and industrial autonomy and sovereignty in the defence sector,” Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space said in an April 25 statement on the eve of the 2018 Berlin Airshow.
“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.”
Eric Trappier, chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation, added, “We are convinced that by deploying our joint expertise, Dassault Aviation and Airbus can best meet the operational requirements of the Forces in the development of this critically important European program.
“Our joint roadmap will include proposals to develop demonstrators for the FCAS program as of 2025.”
The FCAS teaming comes as potential bidders refine their offerings for a German requirement to replace its Tornado strike and reconnaissance aircraft by 2030.
Eurofighter is expected to bid to add to the 143 aircraft the Luftwaffe already has in service, along with Lockheed Martin which has been ramping up the marketing of its F-35.
An FCAS demonstrator could fly in 2025.

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12 Comments

  • Paul

    says:

    Looks great, but it won’t be in production by 2025 unless they have already started this in secret!

  • Anthony Tolhurst

    says:

    Euro fighters have never really been comparable to Yankee metal. The small numbers involved as each programme evolved prohibits development inasmuch as Yank metal types can realistically afford. Mind you, the F35 may well be a financial disaster for all parties involved, coming up short in capability as well as field reliability. The Kraut stuff in WW2 was exceptional in design, but too complicated to operate under battle conditions!

  • jasonp

    says:

    “Yankee”? “Kraut stuff”? Really???

  • Raymond

    says:

    With F-22 IOC in 2005, the FCAS is just 30 years behind the US’ 5th gen fighter… if there are no delays.

  • Holden

    says:

    Spoiler alert – this post includes some generalisations.
    Hope they build it with more focus on delivering on time, in budget, and fully capable – rather than just a gaggle of nations cobbling together to ensure an industrial program regardless of capability.
    This would seem to be part of the problem with current generation military helicopters from European consortiums. It’s about creating an industry rather than a fully capable and supportable system.
    Whilst the F35 is not healthy by all accounts, most US military programs (and the staff involved with them) appear to be very focussed on the usable capability they contribute to and generate for soldiers/sailors/airmen. Workers on the production line work in the US seem to frequently talk about their part in the capability team – their importance in producing a safe reliable and usable product.
    This appears to be a notion the Europeans struggle to grasp at times – because their products are as much about creating an industry as they are about creating a capability. .

  • Zarg

    says:

    Yeah, Euro fighters like the Spitfire, ME109, FW190, Mirage, Lightning, Hunter were really poor compared to “Yankee Metal”! Really?

  • Samual

    says:

    Europe seems to have slipped well behind the US, Russia and China in their pursuit of 5th generation technology.
    The Germans should buy some F-35s and work on developing 6th generation aircraft instead of simply reinventing the wheel.

  • Paul

    says:

    Holden, very well said mate!!

  • Dan

    says:

    Hard to fathom the investment logic? Despite it’s development complexities, cost over runs and timeline delays, the F35 will end up with a production run somewhere close to 3000 units. This for a truly 5th generation aircraft! Support and development infrastructure on that scale brings by default future proofing and industry support. One only needs to look at the folly of purchasing development aircraft that lacked that i.e. Euro Tiger, NH90 etc. With the benefit of hindsight the ADF would almost certainly have gone down a more proven route i.e. Blackhawk and Apache.

  • Edward

    says:

    Anyone think that looks like a modern Tomcat?

  • PAUL

    says:

    Think I mentioned this collaboration in a post recently. I’m sure it will be tailor made for European theatre & quite capable. For anyone who thinks the current Dassault Rafale is no good, the French built this design on their own after the Eurofighter program strayed from their requirements. You have to hand it to the French on this one. I saw this Aircraft displayed at Paris Airshow 2005, and it went up as fast as the Mirage 2000 went down, pulls an unbelievable 10.5g in turns at the show, maybe capable of more in combat? It can supercruise, it has sensor fusion, is carrier capable unlike Typhoon, & didn’t need Tornado’s to lase targets like the Typhoons did in Libya. Funny how sales kicked in after the Libya campaign…..remember Aerospace giants have their own propaganda campaigns for talking down the competition.
    By the way- may want to talk to India about the backlog of spares servicing & support for Russian aircraft…..
    Would I buy a Lada no, & European cars have quality above a lot of yank tanks. Yes we are talking about Aircraft, but you do have to wonder about some programs that get awarded to the lowest bidder or least risk. France owned all the risk. & Sweden have done well with the Gripen program, their population is half that of Australias.

  • Ian

    says:

    Australia should be lobbying to join this program as a partner, Recapitalise our aviation industry and skills base, get options to build here. And why not? It takes guts as well as vision in these uncertain times. It’s also good not to have all our eggs in the F-35 basket.

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