Dassault revealed a full-scale mock-up of the New Fighter (NF) concept it is developing with Airbus as part of the wider Future Combat Air System (FCAS)/Système de Combat Aérien Futur (SCAF) programme at the Paris Air Show on 17 June.
The event, which was attended by French President Emmanuel Macron and other senior French, German, and Spanish government and industry officials, saw the NF model shown alongside that of a proposed unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) that will operate in tandem with the manned fighter.
At the same time as the unveiling, it was announced that, following the awarding of the Joint Concept Study in January, Dassault Aviation and Airbus Defence and Space (DS) had delivered to the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) and to the German Ministry of Defence (Bundeswehr) an industrial agreement on the initial demonstrator phase of the FCAS/SCAF project that was first disclosed in late 2017.
The first demonstration phase will cover three of the core elements of the project, namely the NF manned combat aircraft; the UCAVs, dubbed 'remote carriers' (RC) by the project team although now more commonly known as 'loyal wingmen'; and an all-encompassing network, known as the Air Combat Cloud (ACC). Other companies included in this phase include MBDA for weapons and Thales for avionics and systems, while in parallel Safran and MTU are developing the New European Engine (NEE) for the NF.
As noted by Dassault and Airbus, a contract for this first demonstrator phase is expected later this year. It is intended to run from 2019 to mid-2021 with the goal of flying the NF and RC in concert with the ACC by 2026.
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