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Belgium becomes FCAS/SCAF observer country

A full-scale mock-up of the New Generation Fighter that sits at the core of the FCAS/SCAF project of which Belgium is now an official observer. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Belgium has joined France, Germany, and Spain in the Future Combat Air System (FCAS)/Système de Combat Aérien du Futur (SCAF) programme, with the Belgian government saying the country now has observer status.

Defence Minister Ludivine Dedonder and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Labour Pierre-Yves Dermagne announced the news in a joint communiqué released on 26 April.

“On 24 April the government obtained observer country status for Belgium as part of the FCAS/SCAF development programme,” the communiqué said.

As detailed in the announcement, the observer country status will afford Belgium access to information on the programme and its development, and will be able to participate in strategic discussions. “This will allow Belgium to get a clear idea of the programme and its implications for the Belgian defence industry,” the ministers said.

“At the same time as obtaining its observer status, Belgium is starting a specific research and development programme of EUR60 million [USD64.15 million]. This programme aims to position the Belgian defence industry in the best possible conditions to participate in the SCAF programme,” the ministers added.

Dermagne said that given Belgium's recent experience of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter programme, it was decided to come in on the FCAS/SCAF effort at the earliest opportunity. “This should then allow us to obtain significant and structuring societal returns, while also having the opportunity to acquire the necessary know-how from the first phases, for the benefit of our companies and our workers,” he said.

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