No news from the FCAS after the Franco-Spanish summit, while Dassault suggests that with them France could get the free news

In which both countries take part together with Germany, it does not seem to have been on the official agenda. That absence becomes relevant when you consider that Dassault Aviaton’s CEO Trappier recently defended that French industry could go on its own given the limited progress made by its partners. Future Combat Air System (FCAS) Last Monday the XXVI took place in Montauban, France. Franco-Spanish summit where the presidents of both countries and the most important ministers met via telematics. The question of

From La Moncloa, there are no explicit references to this issue in the official documents released after the summit, with the exception of some references to talks between the defense ministers of both countries. Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles highlighted the strong bilateral security and defense ties at all levels, as well as a shared vision to protect citizens and create peace for societies at risk, especially in Africa and elsewhere. They have also committed to addressing the new challenges in space and cyberspace together and to see the EU as the backbone of these initiatives. Therefore, both say they will continue to work to further strengthen the transatlantic link.

You have to go to point 25 of the joint statement to find a reference: In the armaments field, where Spain and France are already partners in numerous important programs (Tigre, A400M, Eurodrone, NGWS / FCAS, ESSOR) our two countries will continue to work actively together to carry out the cooperation already begun, which is essential to respond to the needs of our armies and strengthen Europe’s industrial and technological defense base, which is currently being scrutinized by the health crisis we are going through. The Spanish-French cooperation will also be strengthened in other technological areas such as software-defined radio. This cooperation on existing and developing elements will improve the interoperability of our armed forces and further strengthen cooperation between the industries of the two countries.

France could do it alone

We remind you that Eric Trappier, CEO of Dassault Aviation, warned less than two weeks ago, on the occasion of the presentation of the company’s results and his intervention in the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense and Armed Forces of the French Senate, that the FCAS program came about because of the problems between the three countries still not making progress. His company was able to run the program with French industry alone.

In relation to an alternative plan B to the current situation of the three partners (Germany, France and Spain), represented by Airbus (Germany and Spain) and Dassault, Trapier argued the problems arising from the distribution of the workload and the management of developments between three result in parts instead of two with Germany. For Trapier, the arrival of Spain and the Spanish suppliers means that the workload has been split up to 33 percent instead of 50 percent. Airbus to 66 percent as it represents Germany and Spain (in the case of Spain, Indra is the leader in industrial participation. However, Indra is national, which made Airbus uneasy). The distribution of the program’s intellectual property is also a problem to be resolved.

Trapier highlighted the extensive ability of French industry to run a program like FCAS on its own, relying on Dassault for aircraft, Safran for engines, Thales for electronics and MBDA for missiles. The Dassault CEO is raising an independent French option, but it may seek partners, not in the case of the UK, whose Tempest program does not want to participate. For Trapier, the collaboration model proposed by Spain and Germany, based on that of the Eurofighter, will not work because it is more expensive compared to the development of the Rafale. (Jos M Navarro Garca)

Photo: The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, meets on the occasion of the XXVI. Franco-Spanish summit with the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron.

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