France and Germany have agreed to develop
a new generation European fighter jet together, that will replace their current fleets.
French President Emmanuel Macron called a “revolution” in their defense relations. A statement from the French presidency after
talks between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Macron in Paris said, ”The two partners
hope to finalize a joint roadmap by mid-2018”. Macron added that fighter jets are very heavy
projects for our armies and our governments and a joint European aircraft would help save
money and remove competition between different jets currently on the market.
He further added that, “The aim of this joint fighter jet project is to do research
and development together… to use it together.. and to coordinate on exports”. In this video, Defense Updates analyzes the
joint French & German 6th generation fighter. Lets get started. Dassault Rafales and Eurofighter Typhoon are
currently the most advanced fighter jet deployed by France & Germany respectively. Rafale is a twin-engine, canard delta wing,
multirole fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation. Equipped with a wide
range of weapons, the Rafale is intended to perform air supremacy, interdiction, aerial
reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike and nuclear deterrence missions.
The Rafale is referred to as an “omnirole” aircraft by Dassault. The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine,
canard-delta wing, multirole fighter. Typhoon program is a multinational collaboration among
the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain.The Eurofighter Typhoon is a highly agile aircraft, designed
to be a supremely effective dogfighter in combat. Later production aircraft have been
increasingly better equipped to undertake air-to-surface strike missions and to be compatible
with an increasing number of different armaments and equipments. Both Rafale & Typhoon is referred to as 4.5-generation
fighters and there is no plan for a 5th a fighter. U.S has moved ahead with deploying F 35 5th
generation fighter apart from having F 22 Raptor. Several partners nations like the
United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Turkey, Australia, Norway and Denmark and
allies like Japan and Israel are also deploying the fighters. Russian 5th generation Su 57 has been unveiled
last year and even made a short appearance in Syria. Deigned by Sukhoi corporation, Su
57 is a stealth, single-seat, twin-engine multirole fighter developed for air superiority
and ground attack operations. China has also deployed its own 5th generation
J-20. Developed by Chengdu Aerospace Corporation, it is as s a single-seat, twinjet, all-weather,
stealth fighter aircraft. The announcement of cooperation between France
& Germany comes at a time when U.S President Trump has been prodding Europe to do more
with respect to defense and be less dependent on America. In late April of this year on the sidelines
of an air show in Berlin , France & Germany have signed a 10 page common requirements
document that outlines the required capabilities at a very high level. The aircraft will have low-observable characteristics
so that it can penetrate enemies air defenses. The fighter will be equipped very powerful
sensors including a synthetic aperture radar that will be able to scan the airspace at
long ranges. These features are reminiscent of fifth-generation
fighters, but the upcoming fighter is likely to go far beyond and add many new capabilities.
The fighter may have the ability to manage stealthy drones deploying both kinetic weapons
and electronic warfare systems—a concept known as manned-unmanned teaming. It may also
include laser weapons , advanced cybersecurity to protect against hacking and AI enabled
auto pilot. Initial work on the jet will be started from
this year itself and it is expected to be operational by 2040. Apart from improving
ties, pooling resources together makes sense as developing a high profile fighter is very
cost intensive and requires huge amount of effort.
The plane will be the first stealthy plane developed in Europe.
The idea is combine the technical prowess of very capable companies like Airbus, Dassault,
Thales, MBDA and Safran to develop a potent fighter jet. After the base work is done, the program could
be expanded to include British firms like BAE systems and Swedish firm Saab, which is
the maker of JAS 39 Gripen. It will be extremely important to have a solid
management to get the coordination right and if done in proper way the fighter could turn
out to be world beater.