A couple of events happened in the past week:Germany
allocated funds for the first 18 months of the prototype development, which allowed them to sign a contract with France. Although the 77 million € each is barely enough for in-depth feasability studies, first flight of the first prototype is still planned for 2026, although changes are likely (comparable to the X-35 --> F-35 development).
https://www.defense-aerospace.com/artic ... ators.htmlSpain
France and Germany announced late on Wednesday that they had awarded the initial framework contract (called Phase 1A) for the demonstrator phase of the Future Combat Air System (FCAS).
This initial contract, however, only runs for 18 months and only funds preparatory work, as the Bundestag’s budget committee, which met Feb. 12 in Berlin, refused to authorize funds for the entire demonstrator phase, which was originally planned to end in 2026 with the flight of the New-Generation Fighter (NGF) and its new engines.
It is also worth noting that, according to the Airbus press release about the contracts, Spain will only effectively join the program in 18 months, for Phase 1B, despite having signed to join with great pomp at the Paris Air Show in June. ...
spun this news slightly differently, focusing on their newly signed contract.
https://www.defense-aerospace.com/artic ... study.htmlFrance
The Secretary of State for Defense, Ángel Olivares, has signed, with his French and German counterparts, Joël Barre and Benedikt Zimmer, a new implementation agreement for the full integration of Spain and its industry in the development of the Joint Concept Study of the Future Air Combat System (NGWS / FCAS).
took yet another point of view, focusing more on the grand future of the program.
https://www.defense-aerospace.com/artic ... ators.html
The SCAF / FCAS, NGF, RC, NGWS Alphabet Soup?
To deal with foreseeable conflicts by 2040, the air assets that we currently own must evolve into a system of systems within the framework of connected collaborative combat: the Système de Combat Aérien Futur (SCAF) or Future Combat Air System (FCAS) in English.
Germany, Spain and France share the same vision for FCAS. Specific to each country but all interoperable, the national FCAS will have to connect the current national capabilities (Rafale for France, Eurofighter for Germany and Spain, drones, surveillance planes, air refueling, command systems) and the future capabilities: these will be open systems combining different assets working in collaboration.
As part of the development of their future SCAFs, the three countries have chosen to cooperate together on what will be at the heart of each of the national FCASs: the development of a new generation combat aircraft (New Generation Fighter - NGF), accompanied by drones (Remote Carriers) which will produce complementary effects.
The whole will be interconnected by a combat cloud. This joint project is called the Next Generation Weapon System (NGWS) weapon system project. It will be able to act either autonomously or in a network with air, naval, land or space combat or command systems ("NGWS within a FCAS").
It will make the most of the potential of real-time connectivity and data fusion. The full potential of artificial intelligence will be exploited in the NGWS, in particular for the benefit of the New-Generation Fighter (NGF).
The contributions of the other national air combat assets which will network with the components of the NGWS system (current airborne platforms, in particular the Rafale which will continue in parallel to evolve and will remain at the best operational level, our future cruise missiles developed with the United Kingdom, other armaments and drones of different types) will be taken into account from the start.
In light of these new contracts, Airbus and Thales kicked off their cooperation for developing the above-mentioned real-time connectivity
that will form part of FCAS.https://www.defense-aerospace.com/artic ... cloud.html
While the contracts were being signed, France concluded their latest flight test program for Dassault's nEUROn UCAV.
https://www.defense-aerospace.com/artic ... -fcas.html
Test flights in a collaborative combat atmosphere was notably carried out with five Rafales, an AWACS aircraft and the nEUROn demonstrator, in multiple tactical configurations.
This latest campaign brings extremely rich lessons in the field of stealth and related advanced technologies