Dassault and Airbus Team Up on Long-Term Air Combat Project

New defense systems including offensive drones set to replace current European fighter jets.

Dassault Rafale
Dassault's Rafale fighter will be replaced by new combat systems developed by Dassault and Airbus.Dassault

Dassault Aviation and Airbus have teamed up to develop new fighter jets as part of what is being called Future Combat Air Systems (FCAS). The systems will be designed to work together for military missions.

In addition to next-generation fighter aircraft, FCAS will include cruise missiles, medium-altitude long-endurance UAVs and other drones. “The overall system will be interoperable and connected in a larger perimeter with mission aircraft, satellites, NATO systems and land and naval combat systems,” the companies said in a press release.

“The vision that France and Germany have set forth with FCAS is a bold one and it’s an important signal in, and for, Europe,” said Dassault Aviation chairman and CEO Eric Trappier. “The FCAS program will strengthen the political and military ties between Europe’s core nations and it will reinvigorate its aerospace industry.”

The new aircraft are projected to replace the Eurofighter Typhoon and Dassault Rafale fighters, beginning some time between 2035 and 2040.

“The schedule is tight, so we need to start working together immediately by defining a joint roadmap on how best to meet the requirements and timelines to be set by the two nations,” said Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space.