New challenges call for new responses. When it comes to the protection of the German and European airspace, the solution is a system made up of manned and unmanned flight vehicles, dubbed the Future Combat Air System (FCAS). The Next Generation Weapon System (NGWS) – this is the working title of the new fighter aircraft program – will be an essential part of such an FCAS. The NGWS is expected to be available for entry into service by 2040. 

A project of this magnitude can only be undertaken in multinational partnership on a European level. This is why as early as in mid-2017, France and Germany decided to go forward with the joint development of the new combat aircraft. If all goes to plan, the general conditions for a contract to conduct a binational study will have been negotiated by the end of 2018. Other European nations will have an opportunity to join this traditionally strong partnership and contribute their expertise. 

The requirements a next-generation fighter aircraft will have to fulfil have been clearly outlined: They include improved survivability, maximum range, and high mission flexibility. Add to this high availability, long operating times, and predictable life-cycle costs that are as low as possible, plus a low radar signature, high connectivity, information dominance, as well as protection against cyberattacks and electromagnetic effects.