PARIS ― Though France is focused on its work with Germany on a Future Combat Air System, Paris will later consider the U.K. as a partner on the wide-ranging project for a network of manned and unmanned fighter aircraft, according to the Armed Forces Ministry.
The goal of the Franco-German alliance is to design and build a new fighter jet to eventually replace the Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon. Other armed and unarmed aircraft will be integrated into that Future Combat Air System.
“Today, the priority is that the Franco-German link be solid before starting to open it up to other partners,” the ministry said April 26 in a briefing note. Talks between the French and German teams on the future system are “intense,” the ministry added.
That bilateral project may later be opened up to London, which has been working with Paris on a technology demonstrator for a combat drone.
“In parallel, we will continue the Anglo-French work which complements the Franco-German project; and we will see, when the work has reached sufficient maturity, how to integrate that into the [FCAS] project,” the ministry said.
The work with Britain on the Future Combat Air System Demonstration Program is “in the process of evolving since the Anglo-French summit on Jan. 19,” the ministry noted.
That plan to build a demonstrator for a combat drone for France and the U.K. has effectively stalled due to uncertainty arising from Britain’s planned exit from the European Union, Eric Trappier, chairman of Gifas, the French aerospace trade body, has said.