France Germany and Spain agree on Future Combat Air System prototype flight in 2027

Florence Parly, French Minister of Defense, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, German Minister of Defense, and Margarita Robles, Spanish Minister of Defense, announced on May 17 the finalization of discussions on the content of the next phase of the Future Combat Air System (FCAS). The first flight of a demonstrator of the new generation combat aircraft is due to take place in 2027.

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France Germany and Spain agree on Future Combat Air System prototype flight in 2027 Full-scale model of the New Generation Fighter of the FCAS displayed at the Paris Air Show 2019 in Le Bourget (Picture source: Wikipedia)

In a context marked by ever-increasing challenges, where air superiority is called into question by growing threats, the NGWS / FCAS (Next Generation Weapon System / Future Combat Air System) program directly contributes to the strengthening of sovereignty and the security of our nations and of Europe.

Discussions conducted by the Directorate General for Armaments (DGA), the BMVg (Bundesministerium der Verteidigung) and the DGAM (Dirección General de Armamento y Material) over the past few months have resulted in a balanced agreement between the different partners for the next stage of the demonstration phase of the program. The corresponding state arrangements are now ready to follow national administrative processes for formal validation.

The Future Combat Air System (FCAS) (French: Système de combat aérien du futur; SCAF; Spanish: Futuro Sistema Aéreo de Combate; FSAC) is a European combat system of systems under development by Airbus, Thales Group, Indra Sistemas and Dassault Aviation. The NGWS's components will be remote carrier vehicles (swarming drones) as well as a New Generation Fighter (NGF) - a sixth-generation jet fighter that by around 2035–2040 will replace current France's Rafales, Germany's Typhoons and Spain's EF-18 Hornets. A test flight of a demonstrator is expected in 2027 and entry into service around 2040.v. The NGWS, which will be fully integrated into the various national air combat systems of the future, will confer operational superiority in highly contested environments.

By integrating cutting-edge technologies that will provide the armed forces with the expected level of performance (propulsion, maneuverability, radars, optronics, electronic warfare, connectivity, artificial intelligence, interoperability, etc.), the NGWS / FCAS will place the participating industries at the forefront innovation in the defense sector.

The industrial organization of the program was determined to ensure the coherence and effectiveness of the project, by bringing together the most advanced skills of the industrialists in each country within a balanced, broad and in-depth partnership. The selected cooperation plan offers an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen the industrial strengths of the three participating countries while ensuring the competitiveness of the future system.

This ambitious program will significantly strengthen Europe's status as a reliable and credible security provider, enabling the three participating states to act sovereignly in strategic common spaces.

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