01 May 2018

Future Combat Air System in the works at Airbus and Dassault

Airbus has announced a collaboration with Dassault Aviation to develop and manufacture Europe’s Future Combat Air System.

The landmark announcement – agreed in Berlin by Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, and Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation – will produce a Future Combat Air System (FCAS) to compliment and eventually succeed the current generation of Eurofighter and Rafale aircraft in distant 2035.

In doing so, both companies hope to secure “European sovereignty” and “technological leadership” in military aviation for decades to come.

“Never before has Europe been more determined to safeguard and foster its political and industrial autonomy and sovereignty in the defence sector,” said Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space. “Airbus and Dassault Aviation have absolutely the right expertise to lead the FCAS project. Both companies are already cooperating successfully on Europe’s medium altitude long endurance new generation drone programme.”

“FCAS takes this successful cooperation to the next level and we are absolutely committed to tackling this challenging mission together with Dassault Aviation. The schedule is tight, so we need to start working together immediately by defining a joint roadmap on how best to meet the requirements and timelines to be set by the two nations. It is therefore of key importance that France and Germany launch an initial joint study this year to address this task.”

Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation, added: “I am convinced that European sovereignty and strategic autonomy can and will only be ensured through independent European solutions. The vision that France and Germany have set forth with FCAS is a bold one and it’s an important signal in, and for, Europe. The FCAS programme will strengthen the political and military ties between Europe’s core nations and it will reinvigorate its aerospace industry.”

FCAS is defined as a “system of systems” each combining a wide variety of components all interconnected and operating in concert. This could be a next generation fighter flying alongside a medium altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle, a compliment of smaller drones flying in swarms or a future cruise missile. It’s a vision of a more connected battlespace then – one in which Europe leads the way.

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