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France + Germany - Next Generation Weapon System NextGenWS

NextGenWS By the time it is finished, the new jet will replace the Eurofighter and Rafale aircrafts currently used by the German and French air forces. Although demonstration flights are scheduled for 2025, the plane is not expected to go into use until 2040. The multi-billion dollar project was made possible after Germany heeded French calls to exclude Lockheed-Martin from bidding to replace its aging Tornado jets with the US manufacturer's F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. The multi-billion dollar project was made possible after Germany heeded French calls to exclude Lockheed-Martin from bidding to replace its aging Tornado jets with the US manufacturer's F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen and French Defense Minister Florence Parly announced plans to produce a new joint fighter jet on 06 February 2019. The two spoke at Gennevilliers near Paris at a facility operated by Safran Aircraft Engines, which will produce the jet's new engine in collaboration with Germany's MTU Aero Engines. The Joint Concept Study (JCS) contract signing was the culmination of two years of preparatory work by Airbus, Dassault, Safran and MTU. The French electronics company Thales and European missile maker MBDA will also be participants.

France's Dassault Aviation and European manufacturer Airbus had already signed a contract to produce a concept study for a shared air combat system. In January 2019, Airbus Defense and Space and Dassault Aviation were awarded a 65 million ($74 million) two-year contract to develop the architecture and manufacturing structure of the new FCAS project. The money will be split 50/50 by the European partners.

The fighter jet is one component of the Next Generation Weapons System (NGWS), with the manned jet operating in conjunction with other new weapons and swarms of drones linked to it by a so-called combat cloud. The NGWS is itself part of the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) project first announced by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in July 2017. The project is slated to include a variety of unmanned aircraft and missiles.

By December 2015 Reuters reported that Germany planned to develop a new fighter jet to replace Tornado jets, and it aimed to hold initial talks with European partners in 2016 about what features they want in such an aircraft. A draft Defence Ministry 'military aviation strategy' said it was still unclear whether the new jet would be manned or unmanned. It said it was also possible that the jet would be designed for both options and then be flown with or without a pilot depending on the type of deployment.

At the same time, Germany's armed forces were looking into whether it would be possible to extend usage of the Tornado jets into the mid-2030s, the paper said. The Tornado jets had been due to be phased out in the mid-2020s. France generally prefers domestic sources for its fighters. Britain is a likely partner, with BAE having developed the Taranis unmanned concept demonstrator Italy and Spain might be expected to show interest. Even Sweden could, conceivably become involved.

The NextGenWS could be unmanned or manned, but also optionally be manned. A definition of this within the framework of further analyses and in the context of European solution. To break-free preservation of current capabilities by the Bundeswehr would be the achievement of the initial operational capability of a NextGenWS at the latest at end of life the Tornado weapon System. Following the strategic line, this is to be done multinationally.

A NextGenWS is envisaged as a future complementary system to the EUROFIGHTER in the FCAS network and in some areas as a potential successor of the TORNADO. It must thus be geared to the future requirements of airborne weapon systems. A focus must be placed on possible options for using capabilities in an Alliance context. The resulting capability requirements should be defined in a complementary approach, taking into account the augmentation of capabilities for the EUROFIGHTER, the capabilities of the MALE UAS target solution, technological developments, trends, and threats.

German business daily "Handelsblatt" reported in its 12 June 2017 edition that the military arm of plane maker Airbus had started preparations for building a new European fighter jet. Airbus Military chief Fernando Alonso said in Toulouse that the company was currently working on some components for the jet at its locations in Germany and Spain, with funding coming from the respective governments "and hopefully other players in the future."

As the EU executive aimed to define a joint foreign and defense policy in the 28-member bloc, Airbus said it would definitely make sense to drastically reduce the number of different weapons systems with a view to enhancing efficiency and ultimately saving costs. The plane maker noted that several nations, including Germany and Spain required new air defense systems mid-term, and a new integrated approach towards a pan-EU fighter jet combining the capabilities of drones, satellites and reconnaissance planes would be useful, Airbus argued.

Alonso told the "Handelsblatt" there was no room for two to three different defense systems in Europe, adding that he hoped to convince the French governments and domestic companies such as Dassault of the need to participate in the program.

Airbus' initiative should dovetail nicely with the German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen's call for a joint defense strategy, involving FCAS, the Future Combat Air System, to eventually replace the Eurofighter and the Tornado in Germany as well as the F16 in Spain. Another option would be the purchase of American F35 planes, which would be available right away, but would drastically reduce Europe's future sovereignty in air defense capabilities.

Ahead of the September 2017 general election in Germany, the unpopular issue of a new fighter jet involving huge initial costs is being played down by policymakers in Berlin. The Defense Ministry in Berlin said no immediate decisions should be expected right now, citing "comprehensive market research going on."

The CEO of Airbus Defense urged Europe to keep its military independence and warned Germany not to procure F-35s from the US, arguing it would kill the Franco-German effort to build their own fifth-generation jet. As soon as Germany becomes an F-35 nation, cooperation on all combat aircraft issues with France is dead, Dirk Hoke, the CEO of Airbus Defense and Space at Airbus Group, told Welt am Sonntag newspaper 22 April 2018. Europe needs to define its sovereignty more clearly and state that we need to remain independent in defense and space, Hoke said, referring to the joint Franco-German project to develop a fifth-generation fighter, according to the newspaper.

France and Germany unveiled plans to develop a next-generation European fighter jet in July 2017. While little is known about the new planes layout and features, it is understood the jet would replace the Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon, rival fourth-generation jets that compete on international markets. When this model flies, whether 2035 or only 2045, was still open.

According to Airbus, the German and Spanish air forces need over 100 new fighter jets. They would form the core of the new FCAS weapons system and "replace the aging Tornado and F-18 fleets of the German Armed Forces or the Spanish Air Force from 2035 and complement the Eurofighter ," it says in the Airbus armaments division.

Spain also wants to embark on a project launched by Germany and France to develop the New Generation Weapon System (NGWS), a 21st century European aircraft fighter. In December 2018 the Spanish Defense Minister officially signaled the intention of joining the French and German partners. The Spanish Government had already allocated EUR 25 million for the next two years to develop the details of accession.

It is planned that NGWS (for the time being, did not find a fancy fantasy name for it) would replace the former Typhoon (Eurofighter) and Rafale (Dassault Aviation) in 2040. At the moment there are two projects for the creation of a new European fighter: the French-German NGWS and the British Tempest. The Spanish Defense Ministry is convinced that the two programs will ultimately unite in view of the huge investments needed to develop it.

NGWS would be a "conventional" piloted aircraft, which would perform its tasks in co-operation with jet aircraft and drone of various purpose. NGWS is integrated with a number of systems, including long-range FCA (Future Combat Air System) medium-range UAV (which is being developed by Spain with a 23% share), and will also work with satellites and winged rocket launchers.

By 2025, the Spanish Air Force will be forced to replace the 20 FA-18s stationed in the Canary Islands, and by 2030, an additional 65 aircraft will grow out of the active service. The idea of joining the NGWS program became public three weeks after the Spaniards announced the plan to replace the F / A-18 Hornets. Programs for switching already run under the name of Dassault and Airbus, but the English Tempest program has been featured, including BAE Systems, Leonardo UK, MBDA and Rolls-Royce companies. From the point of view of the Spanish, the decisive argument will be the share of domestic industry when choosing the type of change.

By 2025, it was planned to introduce the new fighter concept and by 2030 the aircraft prototype would be completed. The launch of the fighter is expected to take place between 2040 and 2045. Belgium is expected to become a member of the Berlin, Paris and Madrid consortia. Despite the fact that, according to Spain, the two European programs will unite in the future, many experts disagree with this. In their view, the United Kingdom-led project, to which Sweden, Italy and the Netherlands are likely to join, will instead act as a rival rather than a merger.

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Page last modified: 08-02-2019 18:21:42 ZULU