Future Combat Air System (FCAS) - France/Germany

Arpuism

Active member
Dec 17, 2021
176
103
India
Wait and see what will be NGF.
As for now only a mock up shown in Le Bourget aero show... the final result may be different, as it was possible to see on several pictures released month and years ago by Dassault.

For exemple the serialy produce Rafale is smaller and lighter than the Rafale A demonstrator. Why? because the lighter it is, the less costly it is. (and because M88 was smaller than F404 also :cool:)
Dassault CEO said NGF dimensions will be close to the mock up shown. Also NGF is to be compatible with future aircraft carrier of french navy and France wont be building super carriers similar to US. So definitely NGF is going to be medium class as per IAF classification which is lighter class now in USAF classification. French navy chief already confirmed they want NGF at max 30 T if future AC is 75 T.
 

Rajput Lion

Senior member
Sep 23, 2022
1,866
1,389
India
Dassault CEO said NGF dimensions will be close to the mock up shown. Also NGF is to be compatible with future aircraft carrier of french navy and France wont be building super carriers similar to US. So definitely NGF is going to be medium class as per IAF classification which is lighter class now in USAF classification. French navy chief already confirmed they want NGF at max 30 T if future AC is 75 T.
F-22 is a heavy-weight stealth fighter and its endurance isn't good enough to fight China over the Pacific as per USAF. NGAD is going to have serious endurance. That's going to be one defining trait of 6th gen fighters, I feel. So, Dassault should look NGF to have equal endurance as GCAP or NGAD, IMO.
 

Arpuism

Active member
Dec 17, 2021
176
103
India
F-22 is a heavy-weight stealth fighter and its endurance isn't good enough to fight China over the Pacific as per USAF. NGAD is going to have serious endurance. That's going to be one defining trait of 6th gen fighters, I feel. So, Dassault should look NGF to have equal endurance as GCAP or NGAD, IMO.
France neither have such aspirations nor budget as US. I think the choice is sensible. France alone is not able to fund the current NGF leave bigger NGAD level. Besides NGF is envisaged to be 5.5 gen rather than 6th gen.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Rajput Lion

Picdelamirand-oil

Senior member
Nov 30, 2017
5,055
5,983
75
France
France neither have such aspirations nor budget as US. I think the choice is sensible. France alone is not able to fund the current NGF leave bigger NGAD level. Besides NGF is envisaged to be 5.5 gen rather than 6th gen.

France, with a GDP of 3,000 billion, ranks between California at 3,600, close to Germany, and Texas at 2,000, higher than Russia. It's clear that we can't have the same resources as the USA, but if our ambitions are comparatively small in absolute terms, they are big in relative terms. One proof of this is our desire to have a global policy and therefore to have the means to intervene anywhere in the world.

That said, we cannot be hegemonic like the USA, but we do design our weapons so that we can deal with any threats that may arise at any time. The Rafale and the NGF are on this optimised trajectory and for the moment the Rafale has never seemed inadequate. The roadmap for its development is designed to ensure that it continues to meet our needs until the NGF takes over.

This approach completely neglects the notions of fifth and sixth generation aircraft, which are irrelevant from our point of view, (Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning and F-22 'Raptor' : News & Discussion) and focuses on the cost of LCC, minimising the cost of ownership as much as possible. For example, the F-35 programme has an acquisition cost of $400 billion and a total cost of $1,700 billion for the USA, giving a ratio of ($1,700 - 400)/400 = 3.25, whereas this ratio is around 1.44 for the Rafale. One of the most important factors in reducing the cost of owning an aircraft is to reduce its weight.
 

Picdelamirand-oil

Senior member
Nov 30, 2017
5,055
5,983
75
France

FCAS weighing 4 fighter designs, could make final choice by March 2025

"There is a good working atmosphere and the deliverables are being delivered," Major General Jean-Luc Moritz said of the French-German-Spanish future fighter system project.​

By CHRISTINA MACKENZIE and TIM MARTINon November 10, 2023 at 10:45 AM

PARIS and BELFAST — A leading French Air and Space Force official told reporters this week that the French-German-Spanish Future Combat Air System (FCAS) effort is weighing four different fighter designs, with a final choice coming first quarter 2025.

Major General Jean-Luc Moritz, who leads the French segment of the trilateral effort, also known by its French acronym SCAF, told reporters Thursday that he expects to downselect to two designs by June 2024 and have a final design in hand “by” March of 2025.

It’s a sign of progress for a program that has faced political headwinds almost from the start. The latest came from a British newspaper claiming on Nov. 1 that Germany could walk away from the effort altogether.

Moritz told reporters that he saw no signs that Germany is about to walk out of the program, saying “there is a good working atmosphere and the deliverables are being delivered.”

His counterparts on the SCAF steering committee are Major General José Antonio Gutiérrez Sevilla for Spain and Brigadier General Markus Schetilin for Germany, with whom Moritz says he has “a very good working relationship.”

The NGWS involves the development of a New Generation Fighter (NGF), accompanied by remotely piloted aircraft, or wingman drones, called Remote Carriers that will connect to each other digitally using a combat “cloud.” The NGWS will be able to deploy autonomously or in a network with other airborne, naval, land or space-based combat or command systems.

The trilateral Implementation Agreement 3, signed by FCAS governments in August 2021, approved the NGWS element of work.

Since then, on behalf of France, Spain and Germany, France’s General Directorate for Armament (DGA) awarded the three main industry leads — Dassault, Airbus and Indra — and other key suppliers a €3.2 billion ($3.4 billion) contract to launch Phase 1B of FCAS in December 2022, greenlighting work to develop a flying next generation fighter demonstrator.

The three nations continue to work on all three NGWS elements — the combat aircraft, remote carriers and the combat cloud.

“We need to develop these by trying to forecast the threats we are likely to face in the 2030 to 2040 timeframe. What will our adversaries be thinking? We need to maintain operational superiority via superior technology but our adversaries are also moving more quickly,” he remarked, adding that the Remote Carriers “must cost a fraction of the fighter because they will be the risk takers.”

Airborne superiority is a principle that will remain true into the future, Moritz said, “So I want a tool that can exchange quality, up-to-date data in real time, that will probably use quantum calculators instead of computers, I want to be able to maneuver from land, air or sea and I want to be faster, stronger and higher than my enemy.”

He said the three nations have agreed on a certain number of key capacities for the aircraft. These include stealth, maneuverability, the ability to saturate the enemy, and the combat cloud used at what he called the far edge, the edge and the core.

The far edge is the closest to the users (the heart of the battle) but the furthest from the cloud data centers. The edge would involve aircraft such as AWACS and be situated slightly closer to the cloud data centers. The core refers to operations far behind the line of combat and closest to the data centers.

The challenges developers face include the architecture of the combat cloud that “must be natively developed to be interoperable with aircraft from other NATO countries,” Moritz repeatedly stressed, using the example of mobile phones developed and manufactured by different companies but able to connect with each other thanks to the overarching Internet Protocol (IP). “And I’m quite optimistic that we’ll achieve this,” he said.

He said that the need for interoperability was “very real” because by 2030 European air forces will be operating almost 1,000 European-developed and manufactured aircraft (some 300 French Rafales, 450 English Typhoons and more than 200 Swedish Gripens) in addition to slightly less than 400 US-developed F-35s.

He also believes that artificial intelligence will be aboard the aircraft to help the pilot make operational and tactical decisions. “It won’t be there to help the pilot fly the aircraft because that will be unnecessary. The aircraft’s flight will be automatically controlled,” he explained.

He added that of the seven development “pillars” — aircraft, engine, remote carriers, combat cloud, simulation, sensors, and stealth — currently under development, the “most effervescent” for the time being is the combat cloud, “which we are all agreed will be a totally European development.”

He said that all countries agreed the aircraft and the remote carriers will have to be able to operate from aircraft carriers. What “remains a subject”, he conceded, is the exportability of the aircraft. France, for one, wants to be able to export the NGF.

Moritz also confirmed that Belgium will enter the program as an observer under an MOU by year end with the intention of becoming a full partner at some point in the future.

Regarding Sweden, he remarked that it would be at least two years before Sweden decided what it wanted for the future of its aviation. (Although at the recent International Fighter Conference in Madrid, Sweden indicated it would not decide until 2031.)

Moritz was also at pains to explain that the British-Italian-Japanese Global Combat Air Program (GCAP) formerly known as Tempest, is not comparable to the SCAF because it involves only the development of the next-generation combat aircraft. It is not a system of systems as the SCAF is.
 

Picdelamirand-oil

Senior member
Nov 30, 2017
5,055
5,983
75
France
Évolution du Rafale et avenir du SCAF : le point de vue de Dassault
Evolution of the Rafale and future of the SCAF: Dassault's point of view

Questioned by the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Armed Forces Committee, the CEO of Dassault Aviation spoke of the future of the SCAF and the development of the Rafale with its F4 and F5 standards.

At a hearing before the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Armed Forces Committee, the CEO of Dassault Aviation shared key information on the future of military aviation in France. The 1.5-hour hearing highlighted several noteworthy points that could shape future developments in the country's aerospace industry (see the full version of the hearing).

The Future Air Combat System (SCAF) could be delayed well beyond 2040.


The SCAF programme is currently in the phase of study orders (phase 1B), which began at the start of the year with German and Spanish partners. However, entry into service of the SCAF could be delayed well beyond 2040. Its full development would require a considerable time before becoming operational, as the programme has already reached the demonstrator phase. This part of the SCAF programme, which is conditional on phase 2, will be subject to a new contract once phase 1B is completed. The CEO of Dassault Aviation drew a parallel with the nEUROn European combat drone project, pointing out that there was only one contract between the T0 phase, corresponding to the beginnings of the programme, and the flight test. It should be noted that the programme brought together not three but six countries. A multiplication of contracts for each of the SCAF's phases implies new discussions between all the stakeholders, who are themselves dependent on their authorities and parliaments, a factor that could complicate progress on the programme and the realisation of the NGF (Next Generation Fighter) it comprises.

Collaborative combat and artificial intelligence in the Rafale F4 and F5 standards

With regard to the Rafale, the Chairman of Dassault Aviation revealed that artificial intelligence (AI) will be introduced as early as the F4 and F5 standards of the Rafale, independently of the SCAF. He explained that AI should not be seen in the same way as complete autonomy for accompanying UAVs, for example, but rather as an increased capacity for calculating and sorting data for the aircraft pilot, as well as a technology enabling UAVs to continue their assigned mission, even if data links are jammed. This will allow advances in AI technology to be implemented more quickly, without waiting for the SCAF to be fully implemented.

In a similar vein, Dassault's CEO points out that the Rafale's collaborative combat is designed to be available as part of the fighter's F4 and F5 standards. The SCAF will therefore not be the starting point, but rather the continuation of these technologies, which will directly benefit the French fighter when put into practice. As a reminder, collaborative combat is a configuration in which, during a raid, the link between aircraft is extremely advanced. Each aircraft is connected to the others and can therefore, for example, use the weapons of the associated fighters.

Another interesting announcement was made during the hearing: Dassault Aviation has committed itself to developing a sovereign cloud in collaboration with Dassault Systèmes, while recalling the interest that Europeans would have in working together to develop this technology. During the hearing, the Chairman of Dassault Aviation made a clear distinction between the notions of "sovereign cloud" and "trusted cloud", the latter involving technologies from non-European countries such as the United States.

Amendment to the LPM concerning consultation of Parliament on funds allocated to the SCAF


At the same time as this hearing, a crucial piece of information came to light concerning the French Parliament. In committee, an amendment was accepted stipulating that Parliament would be consulted on the funds allocated to the SCAF before the next phase of the project. This decision is similar to that in force in Germany, where all expenditure, including military expenditure, must be approved by the Bundestag. This decision seems to stem from a growing awareness in France of the need for military cooperation with Germany, which has already abandoned other cooperation programmes with France.

Some observers believe that this consultation of the French Parliament, combined with the progress announced for the Rafale, indicates a possible change of course in the development of the SCAF. They suggest that France may not go beyond phase 1B of the project, due to the current political balance. According to this view, the functions envisaged for the SCAF could be integrated into the Rafale's future development. If a new aircraft were to be developed at a later date to replace the SCAF fighter, the progress made with the nEUROn European cooperation programme for a combat drone demonstrator could be prioritised in order to provide France with an operational and technologically competitive fighter aircraft.
 

Optimist

Well-Known member
Oct 31, 2021
1,200
576
Australia
So take the tech money from the 3 SCAF 1b players and the tech money from the nEUROn multination program. Screw them all over, use the tech and go French. A blind man saw that coming.
 

john0496

Active member
Nov 11, 2020
93
103
France
So take the tech money from the 3 SCAF 1b players and the tech money from the nEUROn multination program. Screw them all over, use the tech and go French. A blind man saw that coming.
This looks like what Germany is doing with France, and France let it go : Ariane engine building moved to Germany, German Satellites launched not using Ariane, building its own rocket launchpad in the north, and so on. In many Franco-german projects, Germany is ruining everything, sucking up French know-how.
 
Last edited:

Optimist

Well-Known member
Oct 31, 2021
1,200
576
Australia
This looks like what Germany is doing with France, and France let it go : Ariane engine building moved to Germany, German Satellites launched not using Ariane, building its own rocket launchpad in the north, and so on. In many Franco-german projects, Germany is ruining everything, sucking up French know-how.
of course france wouldn't do anything like that....
You know what happened with the Gov and private company then? thales australia bought the company.

Thales’ Sono-Flash is based on Thales Australia’s Barra Sonobuoy System, a standardized Type A sonobuoy that is roughly 1 m long and 10 cm in diameter.

Thales won in January 2021 a DGA contract for the development, qualification and mass production of the new SonoFlash sonobuoy. This game changing active-passive sonobuoy is a strategic tool to complement the ASW systems currently deployed by the French Navy, providing France with a sovereign solution for high-performance acoustic buoys.
 
Last edited:
  • Informative
Reactions: Amarante

Picdelamirand-oil

Senior member
Nov 30, 2017
5,055
5,983
75
France
of course france wouldn't do anything like that....
You know what happened with the Gov and private company then? thales australia bought the company.

Thales’ Sono-Flash is based on Thales Australia’s Barra Sonobuoy System, a standardized Type A sonobuoy that is roughly 1 m long and 10 cm in diameter.

Thales won in January 2021 a DGA contract for the development, qualification and mass production of the new SonoFlash sonobuoy. This game changing active-passive sonobuoy is a strategic tool to complement the ASW systems currently deployed by the French Navy, providing France with a sovereign solution for high-performance acoustic buoys.
But at least we bought it, while the Germans are pillaging
 

Optimist

Well-Known member
Oct 31, 2021
1,200
576
Australia
But at least we bought it, while the Germans are pillaging
We actually have a good relationship with thales in Australia. the French are just being french.
Indeed, Australian innovation continues to play an important role in the development of new sonobuoy technologies. For example, apart from being based on the original Barra design, Thales’ SonoFlash includes advanced ceramic components developed at the company’s Australian competence center (though the parts themselves are manufactured in Brest, France).114