Germany, France, Spain to Move Ahead with €100 Billion Fighter Jet Project

Germany, France and Spain agreed to go ahead with the next phase of the FCAS fighter jet programme. The project is the largest defense initiative in Europe with an estimated cost of more than €100 billion. German defense ministry said in a statement that an industrial agreement was reached after intense negotiations. The ministry said it was agreed at the highest government level that a cooperative approach on an equal footing would be pursued in the project, which is currently under overall French responsibility.

Spanish ministry of defense said the government would spend €2.5 billion on the project, with €525 million coming in 2023. The ministry said the government approved the spending.

“The political agreement on FCAS is a great step and – especially in these times – an important sign of the excellent Franco-German-Spanish cooperation,” German Defense Minister Lambrecht said.

“It strengthens Europe’s military capabilities and secures important know-how not only for our, but also for the European industry.”

Previously it was stated that the next development phase for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) was expected to cost about €3.5 billion, to be shared equally by the three partners.

France’s Dassault, Airbus and Spain’s Indra are the three companies designated to start replacing France’s Rafale and Germany and Spain’s Eurofighter jets from 2040.

“Now, a number of formal steps in the respective countries have to be taken in order to allow a speedy contract signature which we will have to adhere to,” Airbus said.

The plans were first announced by French President Macron and then German Chancellor Merkel in July 2017 for FCAS, which will include a fighter jet and a range of associated weapons, including drones.

However, the project has become a source of tension between the two countries lately. Last month, Macron canceled a Franco-German ministerial meeting over a wide range of disagreements including defense and energy projects.

Both sides had been struggling for more than a year to agree the next stage of FCAS’s development, although the French and German government broadly agreed on the project.

Some of the delay had come from disagreements between companies, with Dassault refusing to budge in a long-running row over intellectual property rights. Meanwhile, Airbus had asked for a bigger workshare in the project and an equal footing with Dassault.

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