France and Germany move forward with European fighter jet deal

© Véronique Besnard, Ministère des Armées / AFP

France and Germany on Friday hailed the conclusion of a deal to build a new European fighter jet after months of disagreements between two companies involved -- Airbus and Dassault Aviation.

Launched by France and Germany in 2017 and since joined by Spain, the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) aims to have a next-generation jet in service by 2040, along with integrated drone fleets.

But progress on the new delta-wing stealth aircraft has been plagued by fighting over the sharing of the industrial work as well as intellectual property for the cutting-edge technologies.

"After intense negotiations, a deal between manufacturers has been reached for the next phase of the (FCAS) programme," the German defence ministry said.

Airbus later on Friday confirmed the deal after talks between industry and governments.

"A number of formal steps now have to be taken in the respective countries in order to allow a swift signature of the contract which we will have to adhere to," the European plane-maker said.

In August 2021, the three countries signed an agreement to inject a combined 3.6 billion euros (around $4 billion) into the project's initial stage, known as Phase 1B, for building a so-called flight demonstrator starting in 2025.

But the contracts were not signed with Airbus and Dassault, which are overseeing the German and French operations respectively.

The French president's office on Friday also hailed the conclusion of the deal.


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