Next-gen French-German-Spanish fighter may not appear until 2050

MADRID ($1=1.00 Euro) — The European Future Combat Air System [next-generation fighter] may not appear until 2050. Disagreements among participants drastically change plans for development and production. The FCAS [Future Combat Air System] was supposed to fly sometime between 2035 and 2040.

Next-gen French-German-Spanish fighter may not appear until 2050
Photo credit: ESD

The disagreements are serious. Germany and France cannot agree on who will play what role. FCAS is delayed because labor cannot be shared between France’s Dassault and Germany’s Airbus. Last but not least of the three countries, Germany is the one that makes difficult decisions, because the votes in the parliament are difficult, slow and “doubtful”.

The information comes from a “French secret source” apparently with a high role in the project, InfoDefense says. He claimed, “that the three partner countries are debating who should be responsible for what part, in addition to the delay that occurs when any defense purchase is voted on in the German parliament.”

Dassault and Airbus

Eric Trappier, the chief executive of Dassault, has repeatedly pointed out that there are disagreements in this program. According to him, 2040 as a deadline is not possible. The year 2050 is the more optimal option, says Trapier. The FCAS was supposed to replace the existing European air flagships Eurofighter and Rafale. This was supposed to happen precisely between 2035 and 2040.

Dassault wants greater responsibilities and production quotas. Airbus, represented by Germany, does not trust them and has doubts. “We are simply asking the Germans to have confidence in our leadership,” Trappier said in July last year. This statement was followed by examples showing projects in which the German Airbus is the leader and “we simply have no problems with this and ask for reciprocity”.

Airbus is not backing down. They did not agree to the French company managing the “flight and stealth” of the future fighter without consulting them. “Airbus is not Dassault’s supplier for this aircraft, but we are the primary partner,” said Airbus Defense and Space CEO Michael Schellhorn. Schölhorn even stated that the French were “undermining the spirit of cooperation and mutual respect”.

F-35 is not a problem

So, during these debates, controversies, mutual accusations, and pessimistic deadlines, such as 2050, Berlin decided to buy the F-35 Lightning II. Suddenly, questions arose as to whether FCAS would lose one of its partners – Germany. Experts comment that the purchase of American fighters from Germany will not cause problems for the FCAS project.

F-35 will carry solid rocket-ramjet AARGM-ER: INS/GPS, 250km range
Photo credit: USAF reminds us – three countries manage the FCAS project through their representative companies. For Germany it is Airbus, for France, it is Dassault, for Spain, it is the technology company Indra. Apparently only in Spain, there are no problems.


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