The future European combat aircraft will take off industrially in January 2019

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Imminent takeoff of the future European combat aircraft. France and Germany have agreed to start the architecture and design studies for the future SCAF program (Future Air Combat System), The future sixth generation fighter under the leadership of France. A first important stone because so far no joint study had been launched by the two countries. France had launched its first studies on the general architecture of SCAF.

Berlin and Paris will also launch the development of two demonstrators in June 2019 (aircraft and engine). Which is a real blessing for Dassault Aviation. Because the aircraft manufacturer has an urgent need to give workload to its design offices. The Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) will be the contracting agency for the three contracts.

"We are proposing the most appropriate architecture to respond to threats," said General Philippe Lavigne, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, in mid-October at the National Assembly.

A Dassault and Airbus joint leadership contract

This agreement was validated in Brussels on Monday by the two ministers – Florence Parly and Ursula von der Leyen – after a meeting that put the program SCAF in an effective and firm way, said the minister's office. Paris and Berlin managed to define the technical content of the program, the calendar and the industrial organization. This study will be used to determine what will be precisely the system of systems, including the aircraft and its escort of drones that will be used to lure the opposing defenses and to extend the missions, connectivity platforms. The delegate general for arms Joël Barre has also emphasized in a hearing in the National Assembly that this system was the most difficult part of the program to define, because it has little precedent.

In this context, the two countries will launch in January – which is also extremely ambitious – a contract of architecture and design of SCAF for a two-year period under a joint leadership Dassault Aviation and Airbus. Thales will also be on the picture … Dassault Aviation and Airbus will have to make room for the French electronics specialist, who is considered as the European champion of connectivity and the system of systems. In addition, France and Germany also agreed to sign two contracts at the Paris Air Show (June 17-23) for the development of two demonstrators: one on the aircraft, under the leadership of Dassault Aviation, with under -Treating Airbus, the other on the engine under Safran leadership with as subcontractor the German engine manufacturer MTU. The demonstrator will validate the technological choices in order to have a sixth generation aircraft that will fly in 2035.

These three contracts will not exhaust all SCAF technology issues. Paris and Berlin will have to launch studies on sensors, radars and electronic warfare …

Spain will join the program

Spain, which has asked to be an observer, will join the SCAF program once it is stabilized. By the end of the year, the Spanish will join the high-level agreement (HL Coord), which was signed between France and Germany in April in Berlin. Finally, Madrid is expected to sign a letter of intent in the first quarter to participate in the SCAF program.