France confirms contract to develop next-generation fighter jet

This file photo released by the French Ministry of Defense on February 19, 2020 shows a model of the Franco-German project in

This documentary file photo released by the French Ministry of Defense on February 19, 2020 shows a model of the Franco-German project to create a new generation of European fighter aircraft.

The French military on Friday officially awarded a contract to develop a new European fighter jet, a key project aimed at promoting the integration of the continent’s military capabilities and reducing dependence on its equipment. America.

French and German officials announced the agreement last month, burying the ax after months of wrangling over how to divide the production of the delta-wing stealth plane.

European aircraft manufacturer Airbus and France’s Dassault Aviation, along with Spain’s Indra and a host of subcontracts, will collaborate on the so-called Future Combat Air System against a project for player, Tempest, pursued by Great Britain, Italy, Sweden and Japan.

“This historic contract worth 3.2 billion euros [$3.4 billion]will cover demonstration work of FCAS and its components for approximately three and a half years,” the companies said in a statement.

Analysts estimate it will cost 100 billion euros to develop the new jet and its advanced technologies including artificial intelligence for a linked “battle cloud” of drones, expected to be operational by 2040.

“This is an important step forward with an important project aimed at protecting our strategic interests,” French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu said in a statement.

Once the development phase, known as 1B, is completed, the countries will negotiate the actual construction phase for the jets, with the first demonstration flights expected in 2020. 2028 or 2029.

Companies participating in the joint European fighter project

Companies participating in the joint European fighter project.

“The political agreement on FCAS is a huge step forward and – especially in the current international context – an important signal of the excellent cooperation between France, Germany and Spain,” said the office of the General Secretary. French President Emmanuel Macron said when the deal was last announced. month.

To date, no other European country has signed on to build the new aircraft and the previous Franco-German joint plan to build a fighter jet has failed, leading to the development of the Rafale jets. and Eurofighter is currently in use.

Germany also worried many in Paris last March when it announced a deal to buy 35 F-35 jets from US company Lockheed Martin.

Certified US nuclear warheads are kept in Europe as part of the NATO defense alliance – something the new Franco-German jets are also expected to do.

© 2022 AFP

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