What General Jean-Luc Moritz, head of the FCAS program for the French Air Force, said about the future project of the sixth generation air combat system of France, Germany and Spain.
Regarding the Future Combat Air System (FCAS), the future air combat system project of Germany, France and Spain, “There is a good working atmosphere and the results are achieved”.
This is what General Jean-Luc Moritz, responsible for the FCAS (also known as SCAF) program for the French Air Force, told the press, reported by Breaking Defense .
Launched in 2017, the Franco-German-Spanish sixth-generation fighter program is designed to replace the French Rafale and the German and Spanish Eurofighters starting in 2040. The FCAS revolves around the development of a next-generation fighter aircraft, of remote aircraft carriers and a combat cloud. The project involves national defense companies Dassault Aviation, Airbus and Indra.
The French Air Force official said the three partners plan to narrow the selection to two designs by June 2024 and have a final design in hand “by” March 2025.
It is a sign of progress for a program that has faced political difficulties from the beginning, recalls the American newspaper. The latest blow came at the beginning of the month with a rumor spread by a British newspaper. According to the Times , Berlin is considering abandoning the FCAS program, to join the rival UK-led GCAP program with Italy and Japan.
All the details.
ABOUT RELATIONS WITH BERLIN
General Moritz told reporters he had seen no signs that Germany was about to exit the program, arguing that "there is a good working atmosphere and the results have been achieved."
As Breaking Defense recalls, his counterparts on the FCAS steering committee are Major General José Antonio Gutiérrez Sevilla for Spain and Brigadier General Markus Schetilin for Germany, with whom Moritz says he has “an excellent working relationship”.
WHERE IS THE FCAS
Last December the FCAS program took off with the award of the Phase 1B contract.
On behalf of the governments of France, Germany and Spain, the French Directorate General for Armaments (DGA) has awarded Dassault Aviation, Airbus, Indra, Eumet and their industrial partners the contract for the Phase 1B demonstrator of the Future Combat Air System ( Fcas). This landmark contract, worth €3.2 billion, will cover work on the FCAS demonstrator and its components for approximately three and a half years.
The three nations continue to work on all three NGWS (Next Generation Weapon System) elements: fighter aircraft, remote aircraft carriers and fighter clouds.
“We need to develop them by trying to predict the threats we are likely to face in the 2030-2040 period. What will our opponents think? We must maintain operational superiority through superior technology, but our adversaries are also moving faster,” the French general noted, adding that remote carriers “must cost a fraction of the fighter because they will be the ones taking the risk.”
Air superiority is a principle that will remain true in the future, Moritz said: “So I want an instrument that can exchange quality, up-to-date data in real time, which will probably use quantum calculators instead of computers, I want to be able to maneuver by land, air or sea and I want to be faster, stronger and taller than my enemy.
Moritz added that the three nations have agreed on a number of key capabilities for the aircraft. These include stealth, maneuverability, the ability to saturate the enemy, and the combat cloud used in what he called the extreme edge, the edge, and the core.
NEED FOR AN INTEROPERABLE SYSTEM
Furthermore, the French general stated that the need for interoperability is "very real" because by 2030 the European air forces will operate almost 1,000 aircraft developed and produced in Europe (around 300 French Rafales, 450 English Typhoons and more than 200 Swedish Gripens) as well as nearly 400 F-35s developed in the United States by Lockheed Martin, Breaking Defense reports.
AI ON BOARD
Mortiz also explained that artificial intelligence will be on board the plane to help the pilot make operational and tactical decisions. “He won't be there to help the pilot fly the plane because that wouldn't be necessary. The flight of the plane will be controlled automatically,” he said.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CLOUD
Among the challenges developers face is the architecture of the combat cloud which “must be developed natively to be interoperable with aircraft from other NATO countries,” Moritz repeatedly stressed, using the example of developed mobile phones and produced by different companies but able to connect to each other thanks to the general Internet protocol (IP). “And I am quite optimistic that we will achieve this,” the French general said.
He added that of the seven development “pillars” – aircraft, engines, remote launchers, combat cloud, simulation, sensors and stealth – currently in development, the “most effervescent” for the moment is the combat cloud,” that we have all agreed will be a totally European development."
ON THE PRESENCE OF BELGIUM…
After that Moritz confirmed that Belgium will enter the program as an observer under a memorandum of understanding later this year with the intention of becoming a full partner in the future. The country has proposed to participate as an observer in the FCAS, a spokesperson for the Belgian Ministry of Defense announced in June. Observer status lasts from six months to a year and would allow Belgium to exchange information with other partners and evaluate how different producers could integrate and add value to the project.
As for Sweden, the French military noted that it will take at least two years for Sweden to decide what it wants for the future of its air force. In this regard, it is worth remembering that Stockholm initially joined the Tempest project, launched by the United Kingdom in 2018 for the development of a sixth generation air combat system.
In 2020 the UK, Italy and Sweden signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on the project. The three national industries included major defense companies from the UK (BAE Systems, Leonardo UK, Rolls Royce and MBDA UK), Italy (Leonardo Italia, Elettronica, Avio Aero and MBDA Italia) and Sweden (Saab and GKN Aerospace Sweden). But in December 2022 the Tempest project merged into the Gcap, a trilateral partnership between the United Kingdom, Italy and Japan for the development of a sixth generation fighter aircraft by 2035. At the same time, Stockholm decided to abandon the program.
ABOUT THE RIVAL GCAP
Finally, Moritz also took care to explain that the rival Global Combat Air Program (GCAP), formerly known as Tempest, is not comparable to SCAF because it only concerns the development of next-generation fighter aircraft. It is not a system of systems like the SCAF, Breaking Defense reports. In reality, the Gcap, an international collaboration program between Italy, the United Kingdom and Japan, is also aimed at creating a system of systems, based on new generation air combat technologies and platforms for multi-domain operations.
This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL https://www.startmag.it/smartcity/fcas-a-che-punto-e-il-programma-di-francia-germania-e-spagna-per-il-caccia-di-sesta-generazione/ on Tue, 14 Nov 2023 07:32:57 +0000.