Germany, Spain, and France on Monday said that they had reached a deal over the next steps of the development of a new fighter jet, Europe’s largest defence project. The cost of the project is estimated to be more than 100 billion euros.
France has billed the project which includes a next-generation manned and unmanned aircraft. The next development phase for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) is expected to cost 3.5 billion euros, to be equally contributed by all three nations.
“France, Germany, and Spain are building one of the most important tools for their sovereignty and that of Europe in the 21st century,” French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly tweeted.
France’s Dassault Aviation, Germany’s Airbus, and Spain’s Indra are involved in this deal to start replacing French Rafale and German and Spanish Eurofighters from 2040. The sum will cover finalisation of the designs of both the combat jet and drone by 2024 and the building of demonstrators for both, a French defence ministry source said.
The three countries had originally set the end of April for a deal, but a dispute over how to share intellectual property rights held up negotiations. Under the terms of the agreement, the fighter jet will not have a black box to help preserve sensitive commercial know-how, the French defence ministry source said.