Airbus Defence and Space (DS) has revealed a New Fighter concept that could serve as a potential replacement for the Eurofighter Typhoon and Dassault Rafale in the 2040-timeframe.
Speaking at the IQPC International Fighter conference in Berlin on 8 November, the company’s head of strategy, Antoine Noguier, disclosed that the manned New Fighter would be part of a family of systems known as the Future Combat Air System (FCAS).
“Germany and France have taken the decision to develop a new combat aircraft to maintain sovereign and European capabilities. We see the Future Combat Air System as being a family of systems composed of manned and unmanned platforms that need to operate in a collective and collaborative way. We see a great future with the current [Eurofighter] platform, and we are developing the New Fighter also as a key element of this Future Combat Air System,” Noguier said.
Airbus first revealed details of its FCAS work for the German Bundeswehr in mid-2016, at which time it was being pitched as a potential successor to the Luftwaffe’s Panavia Tornado fleet. However, given the compressed timelines involved in that particular effort (the service needs to field a replacement in 2025 in time for a 2030 out-of-service date), the FCAS in general and the New Fighter in particular is now being seen more as a potential replacement for the Eurofighter Typhoon, which is due to be retired from German service in about 2045.
Given the collaborative arrangement agreed between Germany and France earlier this year on the development of a future European fighter aircraft, the New Fighter is also envisaged as a Rafale replacement for the French Air Force.
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