Future Combat Air System
|Future Combat Air System|
|Mock-up of the NGF and a remote carrier at the 2019 Paris Air Show|
|Role||Combat system of systems|
|New Generation Fighter|
|Mock-up of the NGF at the 2019 Paris Air Show|
|Role||Sixth-generation jet fighter|
|National origin||France Germany Spain|
|First flight||Planned after 2025|
|Introduction||Planned for 2040|
The Future Combat Air System (FCAS, French: Système de combat aérien du futur; SCAF; Spanish: Futuro Sistema Aéreo de Combate; FSAC) is a European combat system of systems under development by Airbus, Thales Group, Indra Sistemas and Dassault Aviation. The FCAS will consist of a Next-Generation Weapon System (NGWS) as well as other air assets in the future operational battlespace. The NGWS's components will be remote carrier vehicles (swarming drones) as well as a New Generation Fighter (NGF) - a sixth-generation jet fighter that by around 2035–2040 will replace current France's Rafales, Germany's Typhoons and Spain's EF-18 Hornets.
Dassault will serve as prime contractor for the NGF, while Airbus will lead the development of accompanying remote carrier vehicles and the broader system's supporting combat cloud. It will also be carrier-capable and will fly from the French Navy's future aircraft carrier. Safran Aircraft Engines will be the prime contractor for the next-generation fighter aircraft engine, taking the lead in engine design and integration, while MTU Aero Engines, as the main partner for the first phase of research and technology, will take the lead in engine services.
The FCAS concept was developed in the frame of the ETAP European Technology Acquisition Programme that was started 2001 as co-operation of Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, Sweden and Spain. The new FCAS concept was a System of Systems (SoS) approach combining manned and unmanned systems, combat aircraft and UCAV, to be more efficient in the envisaged future scenarios than operating with manned systems alone.
In June 2019 Spain joined the programme.
In December 2019 Safran and MTU Aero Engines agreed on the foundation of a 50/50 joint venture that will be incorporated by the end of 2021 to manage the development, production, and the after-sales support activities of the new engine to power the NGF.
On 12 February 2020, the first phase (1A) of the research and development program was approved by the German parliament budget committee. It set up the industrial distribution of the first five subprograms.
Phase 1A - Initial framework contract
Dassault, Airbus, together with their partners MTU Aero Engines, Safran, MBDA and Thales, were awarded the initial framework contract which launches the demonstrator phase. Beginning February 2020 it is expected to cover a period of 18 months of research and development. While it assigned different roles to the above mentioned companies, Spain was left out:
- Next Generation Fighter (NGF), with Dassault Aviation as prime contractor and Airbus as main partner
- 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 Aero Engines as main partner
Additional suppliers will be involved.
- BAE Systems Tempest
- Chengdu J-20
- F/A-XX Program
- I3 fighter
- KAI KF-X
- TAI TF-X
- HAL AMCA
- Project Azm
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