BERLIN --- Airbus and France’s Dassault Aviation will shortly submit an unsolicited proposal for initial conceptual work on a next-generation fighter jet to German and French officials, according to sources familiar with the matter.
The two companies agreed in principle in April to work together on an ambitious Franco-German program to design a new warplane, but are anxious to get some early funding so they can start work on new technologies required for the multi-billion project - with a goal of fielding a new aircraft around 2040.
Germany and France signed a memorandum of understanding about the project in April, but progress has been halting amid disputes between the governments about future exports, and among industry about how to divvy up work on a system to integrate the new jet with drones and other weapons.
One source familiar with the matter said the two companies could submit their proposal by the end of the year or early next year, paving the way for the first contract awards next year.
One French military official told the International Fighter conference in Berlin this week that the two governments hoped to conclude an initial contract in January. (end of excerpt)
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