Airbus and Dassault Aviation delivered a joint industrial proposal to the governments of France and Germany for the first Demonstrator Phase of the Future Combat Air System (FCAS). This next major milestone achievement in the programme was showcased by the reveal of the New Generation Fighter and Remote Carriers models to a world public on the opening day of the 2019 Paris Air Show. The reveal of the models by Eric Trappier, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Dassault Aviation and Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space was witnessed by the host of the opening ceremony at Le Bourget airport, President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, and the French Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, the German Federal Minister of Defence, Ursula von der Leyen and the Spanish Minister of Defence, Margarita Robles.
This Demonstrator Phase will cover the period between 2019 and mid-2021 and will serve as a starting point for demonstrators and technology development for a New Generation Fighter (NGF), Remote Carriers (RC) and an Air Combat Cloud (ACC) to fly by 2026. The various teaming agreements, which also include the companies MBDA Systems and Thales, contain a defined scope of planning of the first Demonstrator Phase, ways of working and commercial agreements. Additionally, a transparent and fair handling of Intellectual Property Rights has been established in the respective teaming agreements. In parallel, Safran and MTU are in charge of developing a New Engine.
“The Joint Concept Study awarded to Dassault Aviation and Airbus in January 2019 was the first step in a fruitful cooperation between both companies. The first Demonstrator Phase marks another decisive step in the Next Generation Weapon System industrial organisation in which the New Generation Fighter, to be built by Dassault and Airbus, with Dassault Aviation as Prime contractor, as well as the Remote Carriers and Air Combat Cloud with Airbus as Prime contractor, will be the corner stone of the FCAS,” said Mr Trappier. “The progress we have achieved on the FCAS programme in recent months is remarkable. It will shape Europe’s most decisive military air combat programme for the decades to come and turn out a strong move in constructing Europe’s sovereignty.”
Mr Hoke continued: “I am very satisfied with the level of trust and partnership we have built with Dassault already in the execution of the Joint Concept Study, and now with the industrial proposal we’ve submitted to the both governments. The principles of our industrial cooperation include joint decision making, a clear governance set-up, transparent ways of working, and a common preparation and negotiation of this first phase of the demonstrator activities.”
After initiating the negotiation phase through the delivered proposal, Dassault Aviation and Airbus expect a contract award for the first Demonstrator Phase by Q4 2019.
With the agreement, announced by the three Defence Ministers, ithree Airbus home nations now form the core part of Europe’s most decisive military aviation programme for the next decades.
"Starting FCAS on a bilateral basis between France and Germany was important to kick-start the programme and to get it on track," Alberto Gutiérrez, Head of Military Aircraft at Airbus Defence & Space, concluded. "The integration of Spain now is a credible step forward towards the envisioned Europeanisation of FCAS. Not only is Spain one of Airbus’ founding countries but it’s also an industrial stronghold for military aircraft in our company. The country is a key contributor to Europe’s defence capabilities as well as an experienced and trusted partner in joint defence programmes. So we’re not only glad to see Spain join FCAS, we also believe it is a natural evolution for the programme."
Later in the week of Paris Air Show, Airbus announced plans to closely cooperate with innovative technology players like start-ups, SMEs and research institutes especially in the software domain. By teaming up with innovative players, Airbus continues to unlock new ideas, technologies and research for FCAS, the largest and most ambitious development in European military aviation. Over the course of Paris Air Show 2019, Airbus hosted special pitching sessions for selected European startups, which was organised by Starburst.
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.”
Airbus has also begun scouting for suitable partners making use of its internal initiatives such as Airbus BizLab and Airbus Ventures. This dedicated initiatives complements the development model for FCAS and demonstrates Airbus’ position as an innovation leader in the defence domain.