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Paris Air Show 2019: Spain officially joins Franco-German FCAS/SCAF project

18 June 2019
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Spain has now joined France and Germany to develop the FCAS/SCAF system-of-systems. The New Generation Fighter, pictured, is an element of the system that was showcased at the Paris Air Show 2019. Source: IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings

Spain has officially joined the Franco-German project to develop a new fighter combat aircraft as part of a wider system-of-systems after it signed an agreement at the Paris Air Show on 17 June.

Spanish defence minister Margarita Robles signed the agreement along with her French and German counterparts, Florence Parly and Ursula von der Leyen respectively, ahead of the unveiling of full-scale mock-ups of the New Generation Fighter (NGF) and Remote Carrier (RC) elements of the Future Combat Air System (FCAS)/Système de Combat Aérien Futur (SCAF) programme.

The signing by Spain came about four months after the same three defence ministers signed a letter of intent (LOI) for Spain's inclusion in the project to develop an NGF (previously known as New Fighter [NF] by the French and as Next-Generation Fighter [NGF] by the Germans) to fly in partnership with RC unmanned 'wingmen', with the combination of these two elements comprising the Next-Generation Weapon System (NGWS). This NGWS will be combined with all other air assets in the future operational battlespace to form the FCAS/SCAF system-of-systems. As previously reported by Jane's, Spain's initial contribution to the project will amount to about EUR25 million (USD28 million) over the next two years.

At the same time as the signing, the NGF and RC mock-ups were officially unveiled by French President Emmanuel Macron. With Dassault CEO Eric Trappier and Airbus Defence and Space CEO Dirk Hoke also in attendance at the event, the two companies announced that they had submitted their industrial bids to their respective governments and that they anticipated the launch of the demonstrator phase of the project in the fourth quarter of this year.

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