Air Platforms

FCAS partners report good concept-study progress, expect demonstrator phase to begin shortly

04 November 2019

A full-scale mock-up of the New Generation Fighter concept was showcased by Dassault on the opening day of the Paris Air Show. Source: IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings

France, Germany, and Spain are progressing well with the Joint Concept Study (JCS) for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS)/Système de Combat Aérien Futur (SCAF) programme, and are on track to launch the demonstrator phase in the coming weeks.

Speaking on the opening day of the Airbus Defence and Space (DS) Trade Media Briefing 2019 at the company's Donauworth facility near Munich, Bruno Fichefeux, the head of the FCAS programme for Airbus DS, said that the three partners are "well on the way" with the JCS that was began in January 2019, and that the demonstrator phase is on course to begin in early 2020.

"We are now well on the way with the Joint Concept Study in what is a new chapter for European air defence. Industry submitted its offers for the first phase of the Demonstrator Phase at the Paris Air Show [in June], and this will begin in January 2020," Fichefeux said, adding that the first phase of the demonstrator phase will cover the "first pillar" New Generation Fighter (NGF) aircraft, Remote Carrier (RC) unmanned wingmen and the networked Air Combat Cloud (ACC).

Fichefeux's comments were provided as part of a wider update on the FCAS programme that Airbus DS, Dassault, and lately Indra are developing on behalf of the German, French, and Spanish governments respectively.

"FCAS is all about answering the future threat environment," Fichefeux said on 4 November, adding, "The air-defence environment will be much higher in the future than it is today, and one 'super fighter' alone cannot answer that future threat."

As noted by Fichefeux, rather than focusing on developing a 'super fighter', the answer instead is to develop a system of systems with the NGF aircraft and supporting RC unmanned loyal-wingmen at its core.

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