Skip to Content

The French Rafale M. Dassault
Berlin

Will the Franco-German warplane project fly?

French defense officials have included a nuclear angle to their requirements for the future Franco-German combat aircraft at the recent International Fighter industry conference in Berlin.

Published: November 18, 2018, 7:32 am

    France believes that the country’s sovereignty is at stake and therefore the new warplane should have the ability to fire nuclear weapons and operate from aircraft carriers.

    The importance that Paris has attached to these two requirements is unusual in such cooperative projects.

    “France has a specific policy about deterrence,” Major General Jean-Pascal Breton, the French lead for the Future Combat Air System, told the conference. “That’s why we don’t want any countries to dictate to us what to do.”

    One of the country’s strategic deterrents include the nuclear-tipped ASMP cruise missiles, made by MBDA. Because the special delivery aircraft — the Rafale and Mirage — will be phased out, a future Franco-German aerial weapon will have to replace it.

    Analysts are currently studying four variants for the main, manned, combat aircraft, which is called the next-generation fighter, or the FCAS, Breton said. Airbus and Dassault are the main contractors for the FCAS program.

    Airbus – not Thales – will be working on the Combat Cloud Ecosystem, a “system of systems” to direct lethal and coordinated weapons. According to Breton, Thales was not considered because “there will be a European answer” to the new integrated system.

    France’s atomic-weapons requirement dictates that the central fighter aircraft for the FCAS system must be manned, Breton told reporters. He said a drone would only be able to fire French nuclear-tipped cruise missiles if politicians allowed it: “It’s a political decision. For the moment, we don’t see it.” But Breton added that such limitations could change in the future.

    According to him, the joint project foresees agreement on an architecture strategy in 2020, building a demonstrator platform in 2025 or 2026, and freezing the design specifications in 2030 to enable manufacturing in time for a 2040 fielding date.

    Already France’s naval carrier design has specific requirements for how planes take off and land on short runways at sea.

    Even if Germany needs none of these features required by France, officials from both countries insisted the differences would be addressed as the joint program progresses. The Germans are hoping that the system’s envisioned modular architecture will help limit country-specific variations, Defence News reported.

    Brigadier General Gerald Funke, the German Air Force’s chief on the project, brushed aside the concerns. He said that the functioning would be similar to that of a smartphone: The hardware is more or less the same, while interchangeable “apps” provide the desired military outcome.

    French defense officials are also planning to include dedicated combat drones in Future Combat Air System platforms, the fruit of a long joint project with the United Kingdom. Such carrier-capable unmanned aircraft designed to strike targets deep behind enemy lines, would be bigger than the usual drones deployed around the manned aircraft.

    Spain is expected to formally join the project soon and will be signing cooperation documents in the next few months.

    The United Kingdom meanwhile has its own next-generation air project cooking, called the Tempest. “When it’s possible to include Tempest at a later time, we will do that,” Breton noted.

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    Europe

    The amazing surge of the Brexit Party

    LondonIn the dispute over the new Brexit Plan of Prime Minister Theresa May, the Conservative Party has plunged in one of the last polls before the European elections. Only seven percent of voters would vote for the Tories, according to a survey.

    French candidates for European elections focus only on immigration

    Marine Le Pen invited the Yellow Vests to vote for the list led by the National Rally candidate Jordan Bardella to stop rising Islamism, while Nicolas Dupont-Aignan called for birth control in Africa.

    Some 40 000 Yellow Vests march for Act XXVII

    On Saturday, May 18, Yellow Vest protesters were once again mobilized in Reims, Lyon, and Paris.

    Twelve European patriotic parties represented in Milan

    MilanRepresentatives of twelve patriotic parties of the Old Continent will gather on Saturday, May 18 in Italy, just days ahead of the European elections.

    Teacher suspended after suggesting that Salvini kills migrants

    PalermoAn Italian teacher was suspended after her students were encouraged to denounce Interior Minister and League party leader Matteo Salvini as a murderous fascist dictator. She had instigated her young students "to say that Salvini is like Hitler because he exterminates the migrants" a League member explained.

    ‘French prisons are overcrowded jihadist incubators’

    To combat prison overcrowding, the French government plans to create some 7 000 additional places by 2022. The rise in inmates has coincided with a surge in immigration.

    EU: A playground for interference

    Brussels' functionary elites are nervous about “Russian meddling” in the upcoming EU elections. In the meantime they keep all gates open for US and Israeli interference in European politics.

    German Youtuber assaulted after AfD’s First Free Media Conference

    BerlinThe extremely successful First Free Media Conference in the German Bundestag was hosted and attended by many courageous politicians of the AfD party and hundreds of free media workers including Oliver Flesch.

    Le Pen says Macron ‘will have to leave’ if his list is beaten by RN

    ParisThe President of the French Republic has promised to put "all his energy" into preventing the victory of the National Rally.

    Danish politician arrested for allegedly sharing jihadist killing video

    A candidate for the New Conservative party of Denmark was arrested and charged by police. On Wednesday, Jeppe Juhl was taken away by police officers. In response the candidate remarked that "Islam critics must be beaten down apparently".

    Go to archive