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.