Europe’s Future Combat Air System: Phase 1B

graphic depiction of Future Combat Air System
Image Credit: Boeing

LONDON – On December 16, it was announced that on behalf of the governments of France, Germany and Spain, the French General Directorate for Armament (DGA) has awarded four key players the Demonstrator Phase 1B of their Future Combat Air System (FCAS).

The Contract Award

The Demonstrator Phase 1B contract has been awarded to four key players in the aviation world, alongside their industrial partners. Those four are; Dassault Aviation, Airbus, Indra and EUMET.

This contract award amounts to funding worth €3.2 billion, which will cover the work needed to design and produce the Future Combat Air System demonstrator, whereby these funds should last for approximately three and a half years.

The contract will kick-start the phase which should hopefully see a fully working and capable demonstrator by the end of the three and a half years (mid 2026).

The contract has defined a list of governance pillars to ensure each area is focused on by the correct teams. Each pillar has an industrial champion that will act as the primary for that section.

Airbus, Dassault and Indra

Alongside their prime roles, Airbus, Dassault Aviation and Indra will act as the national coordinators to ensure that the demonstrator is coherent with its goals and that each team / industrial partner works in consolidation with each other.

Its aim is for the demonstrator to show that New Generation Fighters with Remote Carriers that are also capable of being connected through a Combat Cloud.

The prime pillars are as follows –

  • NGWS Consistency, Demonstrations and Consolidation with Airbus, Dassault Aviation and Indra Sistemas as co-contracting partners.
  • New Generation Fighter (NGF) with Dassault Aviation for France as prime contractor, and Airbus as main partner for Germany and Spain.
  • New Generation Fighter Engine with the 50/50 Joint-Venture EUMET – between Safran Aircraft Engines for France and MTU Aero Engines for Germany – as prime contractor and ITP for Spain as main partner.
  • Unmanned systems, Remote Carrier (RC) with Airbus for Germany as prime contractor, MBDA for France and Satnus for Spain as main partners.
  • Combat Cloud (CC) with Airbus for Germany as prime contractor, Thales for France and Indra Sistemas for Spain as main partners.
  • Simulation with Airbus, Dassault Aviation and Indra Sistemas as co-contracting partners.
  • Sensors with Indra Sistemas as prime contractor for Spain, Thales for France and FCMS for Germany as main partners.
  • Enhanced Low Observability (stealth) with Airbus as prime contractor for Spain, Dassault Aviation for France and Airbus for Germany as main partners.
  • Common Working Environment with Airbus, Dassault Aviation, Indra Sistemas and EUMET as co-contracting partners.


With this contract beginning the phase towards the first demonstrator as France, Germany and Spain’s Next Generation Fighter (NGF) kicks-off, we will see new modern fighter aircraft in the skies by the end of the decade protecting the countries that they serve.

It will be interesting to see what Dassault Aviation comes up with for France and what Airbus comes up with for both Germany and Spain over the next three and a half years, all with cohesive capabilities ultimately governed by the DGA.

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