Europe's Future Combat Air System Enters Important Phase

French and German governments announce important demonstrator phase for the Future Combat Air System.

13 February 2020

<center">                A mock up of the FCAS at Dassault Aviation's stand at the 2019 Paris Air Show (CC BY-SA 4.0)


The French and German governments have awarded Dassault Aviation and Airbus, and their partners MTU Aero Engines, Safran, MBDA and Thales, the initial framework contract (Phase 1A), for the demonstrator phase of the Future Combat Air System (FCAS).

The framework contract covers a first period of 18 months and initiates work on developing the demonstrators and maturing cutting-edge technologies, with the ambition to begin flight tests as early as 2026.

Since early 2019, the industrial partners have been working on the future architecture as part of the programme’s so called Joint Concept Study. Now, the FCAS programme enters into another decisive phase with the launch of the demonstrator phase.

This phase will focus on the main technological challenges per domains:

  • Next Generation Fighter (NGF), with Dassault Aviation as prime contractor and Airbus as main partner, to be the core element of the Future Combat Air System
  • Unmanned systems Remote Carrier (RC) with Airbus as the prime contractor and MBDA as the main partner
  • Combat Cloud (CC) with Airbus as the prime contractor and Thales as main partner
  • Engine with Safran and MTU as the main partner

 A simulation environment will be jointly developed between the involved companies to ensure the consistency between demonstrators.

The launch of the Demonstrator Phase underlines the political confidence and determination of the FCAS partner nations and associated industries to move forward and co-operate in a fair and balanced manner.

The increased momentum enables industry to deploy the necessary resources and best capabilities to develop this decisive European defence project. FCAS will be the cornerstone project guaranteeing Europe’s future operational, industrial and technological sovereignty.

The next important step in the FCAS programme will be the onboarding of Spain and the involvement of additional suppliers from Phase 1B onwards, which will succeed Phase 1A after its successful conclusion.