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Fighter jets and drones: European air defense project clears the hurdle

Europe wants to become more independent when it comes to airspace defense. Several countries are working together to develop new fighter jets and drones. Now the project has cleared an important hurdle.

Germany, France and Spain have reached an agreement in principle on how to proceed with the new European air combat system (FCAS) they are planning. The Federal Ministry of Defense announced this on Monday in Berlin. This is an important prerequisite for the Bundestag to be able to deal with the financing of the project next week.

The FCAS (Future Combat Air System) system involves both the development of a new European fighter jet - as a successor in particular to the Eurofighter and the French Rafale aircraft from around 2040 - as well as unmanned aircraft such as drones and joint IT systems. The project had made slow progress in the past few months.

Prototype should be the first step

According to the information, the agreement that has now taken place comprises an implementation agreement that regulates the financial shares of the states involved and mutual rights of use. In the Bundestag, however, it is initially only about a proposal for 25 million euros and thus a very small part of the expected total costs.

The current goal is initially to manufacture a so-called demonstrator, an airworthy prototype of the intended fighter jet. According to a joint communication from the defense ministries of the three countries involved, this is now the goal by 2027. The aim of the entire project is to ensure the independent European capabilities in the field of air defense.

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