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Demonstrator Phase Launched: Future Combat Air System Takes Major Step Forward

02/12/2020

PARIS / MUNICH --- The governments of France and Germany have awarded Dassault Aviation, Airbus, together with their partners MTU Aero Engines, Safran, MBDA and Thales, the initial framework contract (Phase 1A), which launches the demonstrator phase for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS). 

This 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 soon 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, in a first step, 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 Future Combat Air System, 

-- Unmanned systems Remote Carrier (RC) with Airbus as prime contractor and MBDA as main partner, 

-- Combat Cloud (CC) with Airbus as prime contractor and Thales as main partner, 

-- Engine with Safran and MTU as 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 the associated industry to move forward and cooperate 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. 


Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services. In 2018 it generated revenues of € 64 billion and employed a workforce of around 134,000. Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of passenger airliners. Airbus is also a European leader providing tanker, combat, transport and mission aircraft, as well as one of the world’s leading space companies. In helicopters, Airbus provides the most efficient civil and military rotorcraft solutions worldwide. 

With over 10,000 military and civil aircraft (including 2,500 Falcons) delivered in more than 90 countries over the last century, Dassault Aviation has built up expertise recognized worldwide in the design, development, sale and support of all types of aircraft, ranging from the Rafale fighter, to the high-end Falcon family of business jets and military drones. In 2018, Dassault Aviation reported revenues of €5.1 billion. The company has 12,750 employees. 

With a significant presence in five European countries and within the USA, in 2018 MBDA achieved revenue of 3.2 billion euros with an order book of 17.4 billion euros. With more than 90 armed forces customers in the world, MBDA is a world leader in missiles and missile systems. MBDA is jointly owned by Airbus (37.5%), BAE Systems (37.5%) and Leonardo (25%). 

MTU Aero Engines AG is Germany's leading engine manufacturer. The company is a technological leader in low-pressure turbines, high-pressure compressors, turbine center frames as well as manufacturing processes and repair techniques. In the military arena, MTU Aero Engines is Germany's industrial lead company for practically all engines operated by the country's military. MTU operates a network of locations around the globe; Munich is home to its corporate headquarters. In fiscal 2018, the company had a workforce of some 10,000 employees and posted consolidated sales of approximately 4.6 billion euros. 

Thales is a global technology leader shaping the world of tomorrow today. The Group provides solutions, services and products to customers in the aeronautics, space, transport, digital identity and security, and defence markets. With 80,000 employees in 68 countries, Thales generated sales of €19 billion in 2018 (on a pro forma basis including Gemalto). 

Safran is an international high-technology group, operating in the aircraft propulsion and equipment, space and defense markets. Safran has a global presence, with more than 95,000 employees and sales of 21 billion euros in 2018. Safran undertakes Research & Development programs to meet fast-changing market requirements, with total R&D expenditures of around 1.5 billion euros in 2018. 

Date: 
02/12/2020
Defense Products & Services Sectors: 
Countries: 
Sources of Information:  Airbus Defence and Space SAS

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