Spain Officially Joins FCAS Fighter Programme

Spain Officially Joins FCAS Fighter Programme 15 February, 2019

The French, German and Spanish defence ministers signed a letter of intent for the FCAS fighter programme. Spain has joined the existing Franco-German effort to develop a future combat air system (FCAS), which is scheduled to enter service by 2040.

During a NATO meeting in Brussels on 14 February, Spain's minister of defence, Margarita Robles, signed a letter of intent with her respective French and German counterparts, Florence Parly and Ursula von der Leyen, formalizing Spain's entry into the program. FCAS (Future Air Combat System). France and Germany had previously communicated to Spain the content of the letter of intent signed by both partners in June 2018, as well as the high-level need that had been defined by the staffs of both countries. countries to which Spain has acceded.

Spain had informed the Franco-German couple of its willingness to join this project as early as last December. Spanish Minister Margarita Robles had sent a written request to her counterparts. It was estimated that the Spanish participation in this program could represent 25M €.

Spain's participation in the FCAS program, the modalities of which remain to be defined, should allow the modernization of the Ejercito del Aire fleet of combat aircraft. "In the next few years, before 2025, the Ejercito del Aire will have to replace twenty F-18 fighters located at the base of Gando (Canary Islands); and by 2030, the remaining 65, "detailed the Spanish Ministry of Defence. In France, the new combat aircraft will replace the Rafale and in Germany the Eurofighter by 2040.

FCAS aims to develop a system of systems, revolving around a new generation fighter plane (whose first demonstrators should be presented at the next Paris Air Show), combat drones and intelligence, missiles , all networked using satellite technologies.

Madrid says that the country is joining the initiative on "equal terms with France and Germany" and that the project will give Spain "leadership visibility" within European security and defence policies.

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