The General Delegate for Armaments, Joël Barre, and his German and Spanish counterparts, Benedikt Zimmer and Esperenza Casteleiro Llamazares, met on July 17 for a progress report on subjects of cooperation in the field of armaments and, first, on the future air combat system program (Next Generation Weapon System - NGWS). The meeting took place at Villacoublay air base (Yvelines) in strict compliance with barrier measures against the Covid-19 pandemic.
This meeting marks the will of France, Germany and Spain to continue their engagement in this major cooperation for European defense. This meeting allowed Esperanza Casteleiro Llamazares, who replaced Angel Olivares as Spain’s Secretary of State for Defense on June 30, to establish a special relationship with her French and German counterparts.
Initiated in 2017 between France and Germany, discussions on the replacement of the combat aircraft fleets by 2035 led to the implementation of the NGWS project by signing the framework agreement binding the France, Germany and Spain at the June 2019 Paris Air Show.
Architecture studies, making it possible to establish the technical requirements relating to the new-generation aircraft and its accompanying aerial drone systems, were launched in January 2019. The start of 2020 also saw the launch of research and technology (R&T) studies, making it possible to identify the responses to future developments in the field of combat aviation. The associated contracts were awarded on February 20, 2020.
At their July 17 meeting, the Spanish and German Secretaries of State for Defense and Delegate General for Armaments, Joël Barre, discussed the commitment of the three partner nations to the next phase of the program. They clearly confirmed their common intention to commit, over a period covering the years 2021 to 2026, to a work program including demonstrators for the various components of the NGWS system.
In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, this trilateral meeting is an important step for maintaining European momentum around the SCAF project and the development of strong and structuring cooperation around support for the European defense industry.