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Air Platforms

Germany and France launch FCAS/SCAF demonstrator phase, Spain to follow shortly

13 February 2020
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A full-scale mock-up of the New Generation Fighter concept was showcased by Dassault on the opening day of the Paris Air Show in June 2019. Source: Jane's/Gareth Jennings

The demonstrator phase of the Franco-German-Spanish Future Combat Air System (FCAS)/Système de Combat Aérien Futur (SCAF) programme has been officially launched with the governments of France and Germany awarding the initial framework (Phase 1A) contract.

On 12 February the German parliament approved its EUR77.5 million (USD84.4 million) share of the EUR155 million budget agreed with and approved by France. This prepares the technology demonstrator phase to mature the concepts that will lead to the development of future technologies. Spain, whose national effort is being led by Indra, is currently negotiating with its partners its contribution for this phase and could join as soon as the third quarter of 2020.

The 18-month Phase 1A contract will examine the fundamental design of the New Generation Fighter (NGF), Remote Carrier (RC), and Air Combat Cloud (ACC) elements of the wider FCAS/SCAF project.

Specifically, it covers design of the NGF and RC airframes (systems architecture, aerodynamic fundamentals, weapons integration, demonstrator configuration); systems (engine, sensors, and their integration); simulation environment, integration, and test strategies (programmes consistency); and the initial package for maturing technology (production strategy).

The tasks will be addressed in seven technology areas, five of which have been approved. The airframe is to be developed by Dassault as the prime and Airbus Defence and Space as the partner; the engine with Safran as the prime and MTU as the partner (a joint venture will be formed at a later date); unmanned RC components with Airbus DS as the prime and MBDA France as the partner; the ACC network, with Airbus DS as the prime and Thales as the partner; and finally 'consistency of the programme', which will be shared equally between Airbus DS and MTU on the German side and Safran and MBDA France on the French side. The remaining two packages concerning sensors and signature reduction (stealth) will be determined in the second half of 2020, with a view to a possible Spanish participation.

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