Robles: "Spain Joins Future Fighter Aircraft Project on Equal Terms"
(Source: Spanish Ministry of Defence; issued Feb 14, 2019)
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
Visibly happy, the French, Spanish and German (L to R) ministers of defense celebrate the signature of a Letter of Intent allowing Spain to join the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) project formally launched on Feb. 6 by France and Germany. (SP MoD photo)
The Minister of Defense, Margarita Robles, today attended the meeting of NATO defense ministers at its headquarters.

In her public appearance at the end of that meeting, Margarita Robles highlighted the most important aspects of the day’s main event: the signing of the Letter of Intent to join the future combat air system, known as FCAS after its English acronym.

The minister stressed that "Spain joins this project on equal terms with France and Germany," which will give Spain’s leadership some visibility within the European Security and Defense policy.

Likewise, Robles stressed the importance of this project for the modernization of the Armed Forces and, specifically, for the Air Force, as well as the impulse it provides for the development of the Spanish defense industry.

The Secretary of State for Defense (SEDEF), Ángel Olivares, who accompanied the minister, highlighted the historical importance of this day, both for what it means for the European Union and for its relationship with NATO, without forgetting its industrial and technological significance. The SEDEF compared the benefits of this project with those, back in the day, were provided by Spanish industry’s participation in the Eurofighter program.

NATO Ministerial

This meeting has addressed issues of great complexity, such as the status of the treaty on Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF after its acronym in English). This treaty has not been respected by Russia for years, and this situation has led to its denunciation, agreed by the United States with the countries of the Alliance, on 2 February.

The position on deterrence and defense, the distribution of defense investments and commitments and the military operations that the Alliance maintains active, were also discussed by the defense ministers.

Likewise, there has been a debate on European Defense initiatives, a meeting which was attended by the High Representative of the EU for Security and Defense, Federica Mogherini.

The FCAS Program

This program, which was launched as an initiative by Germany and France, adds Spain as a third partner with an eye to the year 2040, when it is expected that the air forces of these three countries will begin to renew their current combat aircraft.

A feature that differentiates this consortium from other previous aeronautical programs; it is the intention to design and build not only a combat aircraft, but an entire integrated aeronautical system that is capable of operating jointly in any scenario.

The Spanish Ministry of Defense is making a clear commitment to provide quality opportunities to Spanish defense industry, so participation in this program will allow maintaining a solid base of the Spanish aeronautical industry, which will contribute to the creation of very high qualification and added value products.

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Spain Joins the Future Fighter Aircraft (SCAF) Project
(Source: French Armed Forces Ministry; issued Feb 14, 2019)
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
On the sidelines of the official meetings in Brussels, the Armed Forces Minister will sign with her German and Spanish counterparts a common letter of intent formalizing the entry of Spain into the project of Future Fighter Aircraft (SCAF) .

As a historic member of all recent European cooperation in the field of aeronautics, Spain becomes a new partner in this project. In the coming weeks, the Spanish forces will join the Franco-German team leading the work already launched. Discussions are also underway to set the terms for the participation of Spanish industry.

An unprecedented project, SCAF will provide the countries concerned - by 2040 - with a fighter jet equipped with disruptive technologies and drone escorts. It is a cornerstone of the construction of Europe of defense and will constitute a major contribution to the security of Europeans as well as to the development of a modern and adapted Atlantic Alliance.

It embodies the construction of a European defense, anxious to ensure full interoperability between partners and Allies, and leaves the door open to broader cooperation.

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