How Europe’s biggest armament project could fail

How Europe's biggest armament project could fail


At the Le Bourget fair in 2019: “Air combat system of the future” was demonstrated.
Image: AFP

While politicians have long been in agreement, the companies involved, Airbus and Dassault, are divided. If the project is to be actually implemented, Germany and France will have to press for it.

DTalks on the Future Combat Air System (FCAS), a project designed to unify fighter jets, drone swarms and combat clouds, are stalling. While the political settlement between Germany, France and Spain has been in place for more than a year, the industrial companies involved remain airbus (whose armament division is based in Germany) and Dassault Aviation (which is based in Saint-Cloud near Paris) at odds. They still can’t agree on a division of labor in the development of the project’s centerpiece, a so-called sixth generation fighter jet. With an estimated total cost of €100 billion, FCAS is the most expensive European armament project to date.

Eric Trappier, chairman of the board of directors of Dassault, which is currently building the Rafale fighter jets, clarified at his company’s semi-annual conference on Wednesday evening that the knot will have to be cut in the coming months – or FCAS will fail. . “Until the end of the year” he still gives negotiating time, Trapier said. It should not be taken as an ultimatum. But you’ve already lost three years compared to the original program and can’t go on like this forever. “Our Plan A is FCAS,” said the Dassault boss. However, like all industrial projects, we are definitely working on “Plan B”. Trappier did not want to go into detail about this.

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