Franco-German fighter aircraft program has a starting date
The French and German Defense minister (respectively Ministere des Armees and Bundesministerium der Verteidigung) announced on November 20, 2018, the set date for the beginning of the industrial studies regarding the Future Air Combat System, the fighter aircraft program ran conjointly by the two countries.
After formalizing the project during ILA Berlin Air Show in April 2018, the first objective was to set up the industrial organization of the program. “The two ministers agreed on joint leadership between Dassault and Airbus to conduct a joint concept and architecture study (including connectivity) for SCAF, based on the terms of reference,” said Florence Parly, French Minister of Armies, in her official statement.
While a first contract regarding the aircraft architecture, including its connectivity, should signed between the two countries around the beginning of 2019, the first phase of research and development and the elaboration of a technology demonstrator for the aircraft and its engine will be launched during the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport (LBG) between June 17 and 23, 2019. The development of the demonstrator should be led by Dassault Aviation in collaboration with Airbus, while the engine study should see Safran as its prime contractor, with MTU as subcontractor.
The SCAF program is aimed at replacing both the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Dassault Rafale in the French and German air forces. Belgium refused a potential invitation into the program last month by choosing the F-35 over the Rafale and the Typhoon to renew its fighter fleet. However, other European countries could also be invited in the future.