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Spain weighs FCAS options, but insists on industrial participation

14 November 2018
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Spain is looking to participate in a new future fighter project to develop a platform to service alongside its Eurofighter Typhoons (pictured) as part of a wider Future Combat Air System from about 2035. Source: Eurofighter

Spain is talking to both European parties that are developing next-generation combat aircraft with a view for collaboration, although any involvement will be as an industrial partner rather than as a customer, a senior military official said on 14 November.

Speaking at the IQPC International Fighter Conference in Berlin, Brigadier General Leon-Antonio Maches Michavila of the Spanish Air Force (Ejército del Aire Español (EdAE) said that the country has for some time been considering options for the future replacement of its Boeing F/A-18 Hornet fleet in the 2035+ timeframe, and that it is in discussions with the Franco-German Next-Generation Weapon System (NGWS) team of Dassault and Airbus, and the UK Team Tempest that includes BAE Systems, Leonardo UK, MBDA, and Rolls-Royce.

"Something needs to happen [to develop a replacement for our current aircraft] sooner or later, but we want to be partners and not customers," Gen Machés said, adding; "We need access to data and to provide our industrial capabilities. We are modest, but we know how to do things."

Previously, Spain has said that its Future Combat Air System (FCAS) plans comprise three parts made up of about 50 legacy Tranche 2 and Tranche 3 Eurofighter Typhoons that have been upgraded to network with a fifth-generation aircraft; a new fifth-generation aircraft (type and numbers to be decided, although likely to be the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter to also satisfy a naval carrier requirement); and an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (type and numbers to be decided).

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