Has the merger of the Tempest and FX programs convinced Germany to relaunch FCAS?

A few days ago, Dassault Aviation confirmed that negotiations with Airbus DS on the subject of industrial sharing around the FCAS program had indeed been successful, and that the program was now ready to begin phase 1B of the design of the demonstrator. While this announcement was welcomed as it should be by Paris, Berlin and Madrid, it is the result of an obvious softening of German positions, which suddenly accepted the red lines drawn by Dassault Aviation, particularly in terms of piloting the first pillar, the one who must precisely design the NGF fighter plane and its flight controls. At first glance, one might think that political pressure exerted by the two governments, and the armament agencies on both sides of the Rhine, were at the origin of this development. But recent events have brought to light another hypothesis, far from meaningless.

Indeed, for several months, London and Rome had undertaken a major effort to bring together the FCAS program and the Tempest fighter aircraft, during the FCAS and the NGF, with the FX program developed by Japan. Already, agreements had been concluded a few months ago about the thruster of the Japanese plane, which was to borrow the turbojet engine developed by Rolls-Royce for the Tempest, as well as other technological bridges between the two programs. But in recent weeks, a new hypothesis has emerged to become more and more pressing, merging the two programs making the Japanese FX and the Italian-British Tempest the same device. And while Paris, Berlin and Madrid announced the agreement allowing the FCAS to restart, London, Rome and Tokyo announced, on the same day, that an agreement would be signed soon, possibly this week, for the merger of the two programs FCAS and FX.

FX Germany | Defense Analysis | Fighter jets
Japanese FX and FCAS programs bringing together Britain and Italy will soon merge

However, since the almost simultaneous announcement of the launch of the FCAS and FCAS programs in 2017, many voices, both within the Luftwaffe and the Bundestag, have been raised in favor of regret that the program is common, or even for a new partnership with Great Britain and Italy, as was the case for the Tornado and the Typhoon, rather than with France. This hypothesis was systematically officially ruled out by the German authorities, Berlin not wishing to build its new apparatus with London following Brexit, but even at the highest level of the state, the hypothesis of Berlin switching towards the Italian- British was regularly mentioned, if the FCAS program with France were to collapse. In other words, for Berlin, the FCAS was a perfect plan B vis-à-vis the FCAS, and allowed German companies to be in a strong position during negotiations with their French counterparts.


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