Franco-German FCAS unveiled

Full scale model of FCAS at Le Bourget 2019. (David Oliver)

David Oliver – Paris Air Show Review: The opening day of Le Bourget 2019 was dominated by the unveiling of New Generation Fighter (NGF) concepts including the Franco-German Future Combat Air System (FCAS).

A full scale mock up of the FCAS and Remote Carriers (RC) models was attended by the French, German and Spanish Defence Ministers in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron. The three Airbus home nations form the core partnership in the development of a European NGF.

At the unveiling ceremony Alberto Gutiérrez, Head of Military Aircraft at Airbus Defence and Space, said: “Starting FCAS on a bilateral basis between France and Germany was important to kick-start the programme and to get it on track. The integration of Spain now is a credible step forward towards the envisioned Europeanisation of FCAS.”

Dassault Aviation and Airbus SE delivered a joint industrial proposal to the governments of France and Germany for the first Demonstrator Phase of the FCAS that will cover the period between 2019 and mid-2021 and serve as a starting point for demonstrators and technology development for an NGF, RC and an Air Combat Cloud (ACC) to fly by 2026. The teaming agreements, that also include MBDA Systems and Thales, contain a defined scope of planning of the first Demonstrator Phase, ways of working and commercial agreements. In parallel, Safran and MTU are in charge of developing a NGF Engine.

Airbus also announced plans to cooperate with innovative technology players like start-ups, SMEs and research institutes especially in the software domain. By teaming up with innovative players, Airbus will continue to unlock new ideas, technologies and research for FCAS. Over the course of Paris Air Show 2019, Airbus hosted special pitching sessions for selected European startups.

Bruno Fichefeux, Head of FCAS at Airbus, said: “Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics and Cyber Security have become an integral part of Defence and will be paramount for FCAS. By cooperating with innovative players like start-ups, research institutes and others, we can make sure that we are at the cutting edge of development and bring fresh ideas and approaches to the table. This is a great example of how much we are pushing the boundaries of what is possible for major industry projects.”

by David Oliver