Press Release by the Ministry of the Armed Forces
(Source: French Armed Forces Ministry; issued Feb. 06, 2019)
(Unofficial translation by
A scale model of the New-Generation Fighter as envisioned by Dassault shows a tailless airframe with a delta wing, twin engines with vectored thrust, underwing air intakes and very probably one or more weapon bays and flat antennas fitted around the airframe.
The Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, and the Minister of Defense of the Federal Republic of Germany, Ursula von der Leyen, traveled to Gennevilliers on February 6th, 2019, at the Safran site to launch the industrial phase of the Future Air Combat System (or Système de Combat Aérien Futur, SCAF).

SCAF is a Franco-German cooperation that will provide the two countries with successors for their respective fighter aircraft as well as drones and missiles which will together form an integrated system.

The two ministers announced two essential milestones for the development of this foundational project for European defense:

-- An industrial agreement between the French and German engine manufacturers, Safran and MTU:
During the ministers’ visit, Safran and MTU signed an industrial cooperation agreement to power future combat aircraft. This agreement will be followed in mid-2019 by the signing of a contract with France and Germany for the engine demonstrator of this new-generation combat aircraft.

-- The award of the contract architecture and concept study of the SCAF to Dassault and Airbus:
The ministers announced the award to Airbus and Dassault of a contract for an architecture and concepts study for SCAF. This contract allows manufacturers to define the main lines of SCAF and each of its components. 65 million euros are earmarked for this contract.

In addition, the Armed Forces Minister inaugurated, with her German counterpart, the new turbine blade development platform for the Safran site in Gennevilliers, and announced the award to Safran of a € 115 million basic engineering contract for new-generation turbine blades – the so-called "Turenne 2" studies.

These studies will make it possible to increase, by 2025, the temperature of the high-pressure turbines of our engines by 150 degrees Celsius. Today, a Rafale engine withstands an already very high temperature of about 1850 degrees C, so the goal is to make an engine capable of withstanding a temperature of about 2000 degrees C. This type of technological development is essential for the development of engines for future combat aircraft.

Finally, as part of the "SME action plan" led by Florence Parly, Safran has today committed, through the signing of a convention, to support the dynamics of this plan, by promoting the territorial anchoring of many jobs, and fostering the rise of SMEs and defense startups.

SCAF Milestones:
-- July 2017:
Franco-German Council of Ministers in Paris: The President of the French Republic and the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany affirm their intention to strengthen European defense, notably through industrial cooperation.

-- April 24, 2018:
ILA air show in Berlin: French and German air force chiefs of staff, in the presence of the two defense ministers, sign an agreement defining the operational requirements (HLCORD) in the presence the CEOs of Airbus and Dassault.

-- 19 June 2018:
Franco-German Council of Ministers in Meseberg: Florence Parly and Ursula von der Leyen, the French and German defense ministers, sign the Letter of Intent on SCAF.

-- 19 November 2018:
Brussels: Florence Parly and Ursula von der Leyen meet on the sidelines of a European Council to clarify the industrial organization of SCAF. In particular:
1. A study of concept and architecture entrusted in co-leadership to Airbus and Dassault. 2. An "engine" demonstrator study entrusted to Safran as leader and to MTU Aero Engines as subcontractor.
3. An "aircraft” demonstrator study entrusted to Dassault as leader and Airbus as subcontractor.

-- February 6, 2019:
During a visit to the Safran-Gennevilliers site, the two ministers announce the signature of the architecture and concept contract awarded to Dassault and Airbus, as well as the agreement between Safran and MTU. SCAF is formally launched, and the manufacturers are at work.

General features:
According to a French defense fact sheet, the New-Generation Fighter is intended to:
-- be the air combat system for the 21st Century
-- completely revisit combat in the third dimension
-- meet the requirements for the full range of air-to-air and air-to-ground missions
-- deployable for the future French aircraft carrier
-- guarantee interoperability with systems deployed by NATO and European Union
-- support the development of a European defense industrial base.

-- disruptive technologies to adapt to future threats
-- global cooperative engagement system combining different types of interconnected platforms and sensors
-- new, multirole combat aircraft benefiting from artificial intelligence.

Story history:
-- Feb 11, 2019: corrected date of issue in "source" line at top of the page.


Armaments: Germany and France Jointly Develop A New Engine
(Source: German Ministry of Defence; issued Feb 07, 2019)
(Unofficial translation by
Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen visited her French counterpart Florence Parly in Paris. Both ministers reiterated their intention to jointly develop engines for the new Next-Generation Weapon System (NGWS) fighter aircraft. Near the French capital, they visited the future production halls and inaugurated a new research and development facility for aircraft propulsion. Finally, a German-French partnership agreement was signed for joint production - with the option for further partners.

New center for research and production

Both ministers were convinced on site of the possibilities of development: from hydraulic presses, which form glowing steel into engine parts, to filigree wax models, which are poured out with steel from the smelting furnace. Robotic arms and human hands provide fine work and high-tech "Made in Europe":

"This accumulation of technology is impressive," said von der Leyen in front of engine blades, combustion chambers and heat shields.

The newly-inaugurated production hall is also a research platform, as it is here that the first turbine model for the new combat aircraft is to be developed. The engine of the new fighter jet must meet the highest aerodynamic requirements, as it is responsible for the flight characteristics.

New project for new partners

"Excellence is achieved when you strive for perfection," said the French Minister of Defense. The new research facility is a place of "intellectual innovation," Parly said, expressing her confidence in German-French industry, because "talent, creativity and perseverance" are at home here.

"The future is here," agreed Ursula von der Leyen. "Germany and France are deepening their cooperation for the benefit of our countries, the European Union and our defense," she said.

The German-French relationship is for them a close alliance: "We are friends and we are partners - equal and on equal terms." For other European countries, such as Spain, the armaments project is not closed, but wide open.

She gave the starting signal in English: "Get down to work, make it fly!"

Two nations, two companies, one project

The jet engine will be developed by the French technology group Safran Aircraft Engines and the German company MTU Aero Engines from Munich.

Both companies have been working together for over 50 years. For example, Safran Aircraft Engines produces propulsion systems for the Airbus A 400M transport aircraft, the French Rafale fighter aircraft, as well as engines for Ariane rockets for the European Space Agency (ESA).

MTU, the "Turbine and Engine Union", is the leading engine manufacturer in Germany. In the new project, MTU will produce the low-pressure turbine as well as the high and low compressors.

Safran is responsible for the combustion chamber, high-pressure turbine and afterburner.

European High Technology in Airspace: NGWS and FCAS

Germany and France are leading their air forces together into the future: The development of the "Next Generation Weapon System" (NGWS) is embedded in the operative link of the new "Future Combat Air System" (FCAS). NGWS is planned as a next-generation manned fighter. It will gradually replace tactical fighter aircraft of the third and fourth generation, such as Tornado, Eurofighter and Rafale. The NGWS should also be able to use unmanned systems such as drones.

The key FCAS technology does not describe a single aircraft, but "a composite system", according to the German Defense Ministry’s military aviation strategy. FCAS is to connect all components in a dogfight as "System of Systems" from 2040 – manned as well as unmanned. The goal is a large system for various individual systems.

More than 20 years to reach operational readiness seem far away, but 2040 in aviation technology terms is almost tomorrow. The FCAS development, although led by France, is above all "a symbol of the military cooperation between the two countries," said Florence Parly.

Tradition and Future: Defending Together

Germany and France have traditionally cooperated in defense: armaments projects by their air forces have been handled multi-nationally for decades, as shown by the Eurofighter (for German) or the A400M.

"But we learned from our mistakes," von der Leyen explained. Multilateral cooperation serves European dialogue, efficiency and progress. Collaboration in development and production reduce the cost to each nation.

The NGWS and FCAS are one of the most important projects of European defense policy both in terms of scope and technology claim: it ensures technological sovereignty and ability to act for the next few decades.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: As envisioned by Paris, the interconnected FCAS systems differ slightly from the way they are described above.
The New-Generation Fighter (NGF) is the manned replacement for Rafale, Eurofighter and Tornado, but will initially serve alongside their upgraded versions.
The NGF will be accompanied by unmanned aircraft wingmen and Remote Carriers, including missiles; together, they will form the Next Generation Weapon System.
This NGWS will operate within an interconnected system of systems – the FCAS -- which will integrate data and communications from the full spectrum of military sensors, including observation and comms satellites, AEW&C aircraft, tankers, ISR aircraft, ground radars, SAM batteries and other military aircraft as well as drones and, as applicable, naval ships or other assets.
In other words, the FCAS will primarily consist of software, and NGWS of hardware.)


Airbus and Dassault Aviation Sign Joint Concept Study Contract for Future Combat Air System
(Source: joint statement by Airbus DS and Dassault Aviation; issued Feb 06, 2019)
-- Joint Concept Study (JCS) based on High Level Common Operational Requirements Document (HLCORD) signed in 2018 by France and Germany
-- Follows landmark agreement between Dassault Aviation and Airbus Defence and Space in 2018 to develop and produce Future Combat Air System
-- Identifies preferred baseline concepts for its major pillars such as Next Generation Fighter (NGF), Remote Carriers (RCs) and a System of Systems and associated next generation services
-- To assess operational and technical viability, as well as evaluate programme feasibility of the baseline concepts
-- Identifies joint demonstrators and technology needs

PARIS / MUNICH --- France and Germany have awarded the first-ever contract – a Joint Concept Study (JCS) – to Dassault Aviation and Airbus for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) programme. The launch of the JCS was announced by the French Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, and her German counterpart, Ursula von der Leyen, at a meeting today in Paris.

The decision by both countries represents a milestone to secure European sovereignty and technological leadership in the military aviation sector for the coming decades. Starting date for the two-year study is 20 February 2019.

Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation, said: “This new step is the cornerstone to ensure tomorrow’s European strategic autonomy. We, as Dassault Aviation, will mobilize our competencies as System Architect and Integrator, to meet the requirements of the Nations and to keep our continent as a world-class leader in the crucial field of Air Combat Systems.”

Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, said: “FCAS is one of the most ambitious European defence programmes of the century. With today’s contract signature, we are finally setting this high-technology programme fully in motion. Both companies are committed to providing the best solutions to our Nations with regard to the New Generation Fighter as well as the systems of systems accompanying it. We are truly excited about having been given this opportunity and appreciate the trust placed in both our companies.”

This planned Next Generation Weapons System will consist of a highly capable manned “New Generation Fighter” (NGF) teaming with a set of new and upgraded weapons as well as a set of unmanned systems (Remote Carriers) linked by a Combat Cloud and its Ecosystem embedded in a System-of-Systems FCAS architecture.

The JCS is based on the bi-nationally agreed High Level Common Operational Requirements Document (HLCORD) signed at Berlin Air Show ILA in April 2018 between the Defence Ministers of France and Germany as well as respective national concept studies.

Its aim is to conceptualise the different FCAS capabilities and to pave the way for future design, industrialisation, as well as an estimated full operational capability by 2040. The study will prepare and initiate demonstrator programmes for launch at the Paris Air Show in June 2019.

With over 10,000 military and civil aircraft 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 2017, Dassault Aviation reported revenues of €4.8 billion. The company has 11,400 employees.

Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services. In 2017 it generated reported revenues of € 67 billion – or € 59 billion restated for IFRS 15 - and employed a workforce of around 129,000. Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of passenger airliners from 100 to more than 600 seats. 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.


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