Berlin announces flight demonstrator deal – RT in French
The German Ministry of Defense has announced that the manufacturers designated for this project have reached an agreement on phase 1B. Despite the political rejoicings, nothing has been won for the European program which has been skating for years.
The air combat system of the future (SCAF) “will be done” at the end of September promises Sébastien Lecornu from Berlin. It is indeed from the German capital that the announcement of the unblocking of this military-industrial project, of which France had been designated “leading nation”, came. In a statement published on November 18, the Federal Ministry of Defense announced that an agreement between manufacturers had been reached on phase 1B, which aims to define the architecture of the aircraft demonstrator.
A “magnificent step” rejoiced Christine Lambrecht, German Minister of Defense, “and particularly at the present time, an important signal of the excellent cooperation between Germany, France and Spain” has-t-t – she continued. A “big step forward” for its part hailed the Elysée. Terms also employed by Airbus, whose Munich branch represents the interests of both Berlin and Madrid in this industrial project. Dassault Aviation, prime contractor for this industrial project launched in 2017, has so far not reacted.
A program at an “impasse” for almost two years
This announcement comes eighteen months after that of a first agreement, between politicians and industrialists, on the sharing of tasks and intellectual property (IPR). Issues at the heart of the disagreements between industrial partners. Announced in mid-May and signed at the end of August 2021 by the German, Spanish and French governments in particular in order to release the funds, this text was to mark the “end of the impasse” on the European program. “A big step has been taken” already welcomed a spokesperson for the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) at the time. Although they reached an agreement between them in March, the rivalry between Airbus and Dassault has continued.
It is therefore with a certain restraint that the announcement of this agreement between the manufacturers is welcomed by the specialized press. An announcement that she had anticipated while emphasizing today that nothing is certain for the European hunter of the future. A line itself defended by Eric Trappier, CEO of Dassault Aviation. During an interview granted in mid-October to the British news site FlightGlobal, the boss of the tricolor aircraft manufacturer had warned that any progress on phase 1B did not mean that the NGF “will be a success”.
Indeed, at each stage, the project will have to pass under the caudine forks of the Bundestag. The German Parliament, known as much for its budgetary orthodoxy as for its fierce defense of national industrial interests, has already more than once put a spoke in the wheel of the Franco-German cooperation desired by Paris.
However, as pointed out The gallery, elected officials across the Rhine set the bar high in June 2021, during the vote on the budget envelope for phase 1B over which they retain a right of inspection. The members of the Budget Committee of the Lower House of Parliament have in fact demanded a distribution of work on the FCAS that better takes German interests into consideration. They also demanded that this program, piloted by France, advance at the “same pace” as its terrestrial counterpart, the MGCS (Main Ground Combat System) placed under the aegis of Germany. An “unrealistic” imperative judges the economic daily.
Industrialists concerned with preserving their interests
Requirements that go in the direction of the concerns of the German authorities. A few weeks before this vote at the Reichstag Palace, The Spigel revealed two confidential reports. One was written by the Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support of the Bundeswehr, the other by the German Ministry of Defence. The first believed that the famous agreement, on phase 1B, was “not in the direction of German interests” and thus called for “renegotiation” of the technical and economic elements. The second worried about the “strong positioning” of France in this program which it is nevertheless supposed to oversee.
Driven by the arrival of Emmanuel Macron at the Elysée, the SCAF program has become the totem of the Franco-German cooperation desired by Paris. This military-industrial program was launched, in parallel with others, such as the MGCS or that of the maritime patrol boats (MAWS). Despite the stated willingness of Paris to move these projects forward, cooperation with Berlin seems to be faltering. Since the coming to power in Berlin of a new coalition led by Olaf Scholz, in a context marked by the Ukrainian conflict, the dissensions between the two neighbors in terms of European defense have become more glaring.
During his speech in Toulon on November 9, where he presented his new version of the National Strategic Review, Emmanuel Macron called for “decisive progress in the coming weeks” on the Franco-German partnership. The French president considering that the “balance” of the latter depended “in part, the success of the European project” which is so dear to him.
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