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FCAS/SCAF stalls as industry fails to agree on Phase 1B terms

A model of the New Generation Fighter element of the Next-Generation Weapon System, which is itself a subset of the wider Future Combat Air System/Système de Combat Aérien Futur being developed by France, Germany, and Spain. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Development work on the Future Combat Air System (FCAS)/Système de Combat Aérien Futur (SCAF) programme has effectively been halted, with the industrial partners unable to agree on workshare terms.

The CEO of France‘s Dassault, Éric Trappier, made the disclosure during an earnings call on 4 March, saying that he had pulled his engineers off the programme until his company is able to agree on a way forward with Germany‘s Airbus and Spain‘s Indra on Phase 1B of the project.

“The next phase of the work has not been awarded, [as] no agreement has been found with Airbus,” Trappier said, adding that he would return his engineers to the programme once a contract is signed.

Trappier's comments came about 10 months after the three governments launched Phase 1B and Phase 2 of the FCAS/SCAF programme on 17 May 2021. Phase 1B intends to develop a flying demonstrator of the New Generation Fighter (NGF) element of FCAS/SCAF, with Phase 2 being the actual manufacture of the demonstrator in time for its 2027 first flight. This launch was followed on 31 August 2021 with the Implementation Agreement 3 geared specifically at the Next-Generation Weapon System (NGWS) element of FCAS/SCAF, which comprises the NGF, Remote Carrier (RC) loyal wingman, and Air Combat Cloud (AAC) networked battlespace.

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