An FCAS Update: June 2020 – Second Line of Defense

By Pierre Tran

Paris – The French, German and Spanish air chiefs signed two key cooperative documents on the Future Combat Air System and interoperability of the present fleets of fighter jets, the French air force said in a June 19 statement.

“General Philippe Lavigne, general Ingo Gerhartz and general Javier Salto, respectively chiefs of staff for the French, German and Spanish air forces, signed two documents relating to cooperation on the Future Combat Air System  (FCAS) program and on national programs for fighter jets prior to FCAS, which will mark the way ahead,” the service said.

In the first document, signed soon after a high-level May 7 virtual meeting, “the air chiefs set out their vision on the priorities for the missions” on the Next Generation Weapon System, said general Jean-Pascal Breton, French air force program manager for FCAS.

The Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) procurement office also fields an FCAS program manager.

These priorities set out a definition of the common operational criteria, such as success of a mission, acceptable level of loss, and allows the evaluation of risk.

“That evaluation of risk allows an evaluation of architecture,” he said.

Industry will propose concepts of potential architecture for the Next Generation Weapon System, which will consist of a Next Generation Fighter, remote carrier drones, and the combat cloud, a network linking up the manned and unmanned aircraft.

The work on architecture stems from a joint concept study awarded to Airbus and Dassault Aviation, industrial partners on FCAS. That two-year contract began Feb. 20 2019.