France, Spain and Germany have reached an agreement over the next steps of the development of a fighter jet to replace the French Rafales and German and Spanish Eurofighters from 2040 onwards.
French Defence Minister Florence Parly on Monday (17 May) announced that the three nations had finalised an agreement that will allow industry partners to start developing a flying prototype aircraft as part of the Future Combat Aircraft System (FCAS) programme.
The FCAS programme, which is expected to reach full operational capacity by 2040, will be a “system of systems’' including not only the new fighter aircraft, but also an upgraded weapon system, new remote carrier drones, an advanced combat cloud, a new jet engine, and advanced sensors and stealth technologies, reports Defense News.
Estimated to cost over $120 billion, the FCAS will be the Europe's largest defence project.
The programme will be executed by France's Dassault Aviation, Germany's Airbus and Spain's Indra Sistemas along with other European defence firms.
The next development phase for the FCAS is likely to cost around $4 billion, which will be shared equally by the three countries.