The French manufacturer Safran and its German counterpart MTU Aero Engines reportedly reached an agreement on the engine for the future fighter jet developed by France, Germany and Spain. After an initial development led by Safran, the two companies will create a joint venture for the certification and production.
Political dissensions have been stalling the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) program throughout 2019. While the collaboration between Dassault and Airbus on the Next Generation Fighter was defined in June 2018, the engine subprogram has suffered from the defiance of several members of the Bundestag, the German parliament.
Fearing that the leadership of the French industry was disproportionate in the program, they blocked the subprogram draft that would have seen Safran take the lead, with MTU as its main partner. This distribution had been approved by the German executive after being presented by the French authorities. Instead, members of the parliament have required a total parity in the leadership of the engine subprogram.
A compromise has seemingly been found, as reported by La Tribune. While the first phase of the development should be carried out as it was previously described, the two manufacturers will eventually set up a joint venture, aimed at achieving the certification of the new engine.
The agreement should allow the program to move forward. Initially, Dassault and Airbus expected the contracts for technology demonstrators to be awarded during the Paris Air Show in June 2019. However, political division on the engine and on the exportation rules have postponed the date to January 2020.