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Thread: Airbus: European Future Fighter Program

  1. #1
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    Airbus: European Future Fighter Program

    Airbus calls on France to join European future fighter effort
    https://www.flightglobal.com/news/ar...-fight-438111/

    09 JUNE, 2017 SOURCE: FLIGHTGLOBAL.COM BY: STEPHEN TRIMBLE TOULOUSE

    A week before the Paris air show, the head of Airbus Defence & Space's military aircraft division has called on France to participate in the development of a new airborne weapon system proposed by Germany and Spain to succeed the Eurofighter Typhoon.

    "I really hope that France will be involved," says Fernando Alonso, speaking to reporters on 9 June at Airbus media day. "We have to do this in Europe. There's no place to do two or three different systems."

    The objective of a single European fighter programme first arose 25 years ago, but Germany and France pursued different paths: Germany joined with Italy, Spain and the UK to develop the Typhoon and France commissioned Dassault to produce the Rafale.

    With the UK committed to withdrawing from the EU, Alonso's invitation is currently reserved to governments within the bloc, describing it as "difficult" to have clarity on London's future dealings with Brussels.

    Last year, Germany and Spain partnered to draw up requirements for the New Generation Weapon System (NGWS), a proposed new fighter that would be developed under the Future Combat Air System effort, which includes other elements of air warfare technology, including unmanned air vehicles (UAV) and space-based capabilities.

    In a planning document published last year, Germany's Bundeswehr envisions that Typhoons will operate with the NGWS with some overlapping capabilities to allow for greater operational flexibility and smooth the transition from existing to future technology.

    In previous fighter development programmes, France has insisted on preserving its legacy of designing and building complete aircraft, a tradition that began with the Dassault Mystère series and continued through the Mirage to the Rafale.

    In the past decade, however, the country has teamed up with other countries to develop stealthy UAVs, such as the multi-national Neuron demonstrator and bilateral Future Combat Air System with the UK.

    "The time is right for us in Europe to decide and to decide to build something together and be available for all of us," Alonso says.
    Germany and Spain invite France to join the Airbus program to develop a new successor for the Typhoon but reject the United Kingdom.

    It explains why the UK has joined the TF-X program.

  2. #2
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    France doesn't need anyone to design & build a fighter plane. But hey if it helps vassalize France even more I guess our traitors in command are going to go for it.

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    They probably need help to design and build a good one, though.

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    France no doubt has the technical capabilities to design and build a follow-up to Rafale all by themselves. However the question is whether they are willing to spend so much money on it.

    A "5. gen" a/c will most likely be more expensive to develop than Rafale, and Rafale was already at the limit of what France was willing to spend (at least that is the impression that I got).

    Thus it seems to me that France will need to find a partner for the next fighter development. They could do like the UK and team up with a country outside of EU; e.g. India and their AMCA.

    Germany and Spain clearly need more partners.

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    It explains why the UK has joined the TF-X program.
    I don't think so...

    The UK may join Japan instead...

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    Did Airbus release any drawings or give any hints at high-level specifications yet? Or even timelines?

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    I sometimes wonder if the UK-Japanese program makes sense. What will the requirements be? They will both have the f-35, so building a strike fighter doesn't make much sense. Maybe Japan will want a PCA type design, but the UK will already have something like that from their FCAS.

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    Since they will both have F-35s, it could be a F-22 type fighter geared mainly for A2A. In other words a replacement for the Eurofighter/F-15J & a jobs program.
    "The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."

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    If France joined, it might also replace the French fighter jet, the Rafale, when that becomes obsolete in 2030, Handelsblatt said.
    https://euobserver.com/economic/138193

    Rafale obsolete in 2030?

    Ahem... I don't think so.

    But does this imply that the Germans will consider Typhoon to be obsolete in 2030? Oforr are the Germans just grossly underestimating the French fighter program? (for whatever reason?)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loke View Post
    France no doubt has the technical capabilities to design and build a follow-up to Rafale all by themselves. However the question is whether they are willing to spend so much money on it.

    A "5. gen" a/c will most likely be more expensive to develop than Rafale, and Rafale was already at the limit of what France was willing to spend (at least that is the impression that I got).

    Thus it seems to me that France will need to find a partner for the next fighter development. They could do like the UK and team up with a country outside of EU; e.g. India and their AMCA.

    Germany and Spain clearly need more partners.
    Where you get idea that France can make 5G fighter by itself. Do you not see the weak engines and small size of rafale. The joint venture like CFM and various suppliers spread around the world. and those were best times for surplus Middleastern capital in France

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    what's funny (ridiculous even) is that they "invite France to join their program" meaning, the french give them money and forget about their own industry... basically, another Typhoon fiasco...

    The only way to make anything correctly and competitive is to choose nations who partner on the program, and send an RFP to different european manufacturers.. with firm requirements and a neutral way to estimate the compliance (if you just say everybody vote as you feel, you'll have every nation choosing the one that gives them the most work, despite it being more or les appropriate.. that's european politics). once a design has been chosen, they participate and pay for the development made by the winning bidder and that's it... forget about making several production facilities that'll negate any economy of scale...

    but that is something you won't ever see... between the requirements that are too different and nobody wanting to pay for something they don't intend to specifically use on one hand and on the other the fact that every politician and his brother will want a work share for his own country, there's no possibility at this date to make a viable mmultinational program

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    what's more, France has the Rafale evolution pretty much planned to have it operational and current well into the 2040's... for the next 30 years, basically... why would they spend their cash on a dedicated striker to be introduced in, say 15 years, that has little to do with their operational doctrine?

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    Is this an indication that NATO is crumbling??

    UK-Turkey join forces on the TF-X
    Germany-Spain (+) France- European Future Fighter program

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    How does this imply that nato is crumbling?

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    Quote Originally Posted by White_lightning View Post
    How does this imply that nato is crumbling?
    They said the UK will not be invited to join the program and that its a EU project. This shows division and that EU now comes before NATO

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    Quote Originally Posted by TooCool_12f View Post
    what's more, France has the Rafale evolution pretty much planned to have it operational and current well into the 2040's... for the next 30 years, basically... why would they spend their cash on a dedicated striker to be introduced in, say 15 years, that has little to do with their operational doctrine?
    It will take longer then 15 years. Could be around 2040 before fielded in numbers.
    They haven't even got a computer model of it yet. Give that till 2020. Then building a model 2025 then flying demo models snd prototypes till 2035. Then manufacturing yeah late 2030s to 2040.

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    It is most likely that the BAE-Mitsubishi and BAE-Turkish Aerospace Industries 5. Generation combat aircraft programs may eventually become one program between Japan-Turkey-UK.

    In fact the Japanese have also hinted this in their press-release:

    The press release further notes that Japan will continue to explore fighter jet co-development options with other countries. “Regarding the possibility of international joint development on fighter aircraft in the future, we will continue to exchange views with other countries,” the MoD statement reads. http://thediplomat.com/2017/03/japan...h-fighter-jet/

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    Bayar,

    In my opinion the BAE Turkish tie up is still only an industrial move to keep Britain current. There is more potential in the UK/Japan programme and the only thing they have in common is the idea that Britain is looking outside the EU.

    If Airbus is asking the French to consider partnering, they will not be planning to take the lead. Even though Rafale is a wonderjet, it will need replacing by 2030/40 and cogs must start turning.
    Last edited by mrmalaya; 15th June 2017 at 10:18.

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    Let put it in that way: Germany and Spain, member of the eurofighter program have not taken part to the F-35 one so they would have to find a substitute for their actual legacy planes.
    They contacted France, a founding member of Airbus asking them to join.
    Such move is quite sound, as all those nation have planes acquired in the '80 to substitute.
    Problems for Spain and Germany is however that France actually look instead to further advancing the Rafale instead of thinking about a completely new item.
    The idea that they have to wait for EF to became obsolete is however a false one , like UK and Italy have acquired F-35 they can go toward a two line AF instead, a plane geared more for A2A mission and one for A2G instead.
    Uk, Turkey and Japan are instead full time members of the F-35 program so they are looking with a plane with different performances, much more A2A oriented and above all they have a much more relaxed timeline ahead.

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    Mrmalaya, there is some NATO technology that BAE systems cannot share with Japan. Whereas, Turkey is already privy to all NATO STAGNAG's, IFF systems, UAI technology etc. Hence, why the BAE-Turkish Aerospace Industries program will be more advanced than any deal with UK-Japan.

    The Turkey-UK agreement is also a Government to Government agreement. I dont know whether this is the case with Japan and the United Kingdom. The Turkey-UK agreement also states that the technology developed may be used by the Royal Air Force and that Turkey will not charge a licence fee etc for this.

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    The only way to make anything correctly and competitive is to choose nations who partner on the program, and send an RFP to different european manufacturers.. with firm requirements and a neutral way to estimate the compliance (if you just say everybody vote as you feel, you'll have every nation choosing the one that gives them the most work, despite it being more or les appropriate.. that's european politics). once a design has been chosen, they participate and pay for the development made by the winning bidder and that's it... forget about making several production facilities that'll negate any economy of scale...
    Agree to the basic principle -- however it is highly unlikely this will happen.

    European defence industry should consolidate. They should arrange a 3-way competition between Airbus, Saab and Dassault for the future fighter; and do similar competition for other main weapons systems, e.g., future main battle tank. Europe is not big enough to support so many independent vendors.

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    Loke,

    Does a Gripen NG replacemtn look like a Rafale/Typhoon replacement?

    I still think Sweden will have enough market share to stay out of a future euro monster.

    Bayar, no disrespect intended, but I have yet to see detailed coverage of the TFX deal in a UK context and don't really see how it will generate technology (other than engine perhaps) that wouldn't come out of Typhoon upgrades and FCAS with France.

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    Germany and Spain invite France to join the Airbus program to develop a new successor for the Typhoon but reject the United Kingdom.
    I think it means we rejected them after the absolute farce Typhoon turned into.

    They could do like the UK and team up with a country outside of EU; e.g. India and their AMCA.
    Are they already teamed up with the UK on FCAS?

    Germany and Spain clearly need more partners.
    Surely the millions of brilliant minds they've brought in from Syria and Iraq will be all they need.

    I sometimes wonder if the UK-Japanese program makes sense. What will the requirements be? They will both have the f-35, so building a strike fighter doesn't make much sense. Maybe Japan will want a PCA type design, but the UK will already have something like that from their FCAS.
    More air-superiority-orientated fighter to replace Typhoon/F-2. So logically:

    Harrier -> F-35B
    Tornado -> FCAS
    Typhoon -> UK/Japan fighter

    The BAE-Turkey thing, seems more like BAE acting as consultants for the design rather than a partner development. Bit like with the Polish tank.

    Mrmalaya, there is some NATO technology that BAE systems cannot share with Japan.
    Not sure how relevant that will be but not a big problem. Where it isn't possible, those systems will have different software loads across the UK and Japanese version.
    Last edited by Ryan; 15th June 2017 at 11:02.

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    Ryan,

    FCAS isn't being developed as a Tornado replacement (which would mean it was a Rafale replacement in turn). It looks very much as if FCAS is being developed to support non stealthy aircraft which have a greater weapons carriage capacity. In UK terms, the only thing Tornado does that is unique is Storm Shadow (soon to be seen on Typhoon) and RAPTOR pod (Protector to replace?).

    Tornado will be long dead by the time an operational FCAS trial is undertaken.
    Last edited by mrmalaya; 15th June 2017 at 11:05.

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    Well my view was a bit simplified but one use of FCAS will be for interdiction, which has historically been a Tornado role but there is definitely some overlap in historic roles, e.g. F-35B will do some Tornado work.

    https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=...iction&f=false

    http://www.airforce-technology.com/f...ahead-4893221/

    FCAS is the most ambitious programme of its kind in Europe. Two national designs, one French and one British, will be developed, followed by a design that will be taken forward jointly. The end result should be a UCAS capability that can perform sustained surveillance, target designation, intelligence gathering and strike missions in hostile territories.
    Last edited by Ryan; 15th June 2017 at 11:13.

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    The main point about Airbus asking Dassault to partner is that they are running out of fast jet work. Once Typhoon production stops what upgrades are they looking at? I know they have had in house uav design work but again, what has that achieved?

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    @ Loke


    Oh, I never said it was likely to happen, only that it would be the only sensible thing to do if one wants to have a relatively affordable fighter.. doing it as they want (choose a manufacturer without any competition and then, let it do the development as they can while pulling whatever production the nations can to themselves) is the perfect way to pay as much as if they developed it all alone, for a lesser product in the end..

    When I see that proposal, I can only say that France is way better off staying alone... in the end it won't cost them more, but they'll have the product that really does suit their needs and they'll have their industry work guaranteed

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    Europe has the technology base to design a 5th generation fighter, but utterly lacks the political will to override the various national parochial interests.

    You are never going to get a project off the ground if everyone wants to contribute 20% of the development funding, while getting 40% of the work share, and buying maybe 10% of the aircraft. (all while hording sensitive technology and protecting key national industries...)

    To make matters worse, most of the major players are already struggling to support their 4th generation programs. Where is the money for an all-new program going to come from?

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    finding money is a matter of political will.. it depends on what you choose to finance.. but you're right on one thing, in general: there's no political will in Europe.. most politicians are obsessed with their reelection so they manage things for immediately visible benefits (workshare they get, for example) and completely disregarding the long term issues

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