A powerful fighter aircraft needs a powerful propulsion system. This reflects in typical engine parameters, such as robustness and reliability, or an improved thrust-to-weight ratio. Low development and production costs, efficient maintenance, and long and projectable maintenance intervals are other key factors. The digital environment of the future will add new, stringent requirements, for instance in terms of integration of radar signature aspects and electric power offtake. 

To provide the necessary enhancements, profound technological preparation is of the essence. It takes advanced design tools, simulation methods, and an integrated approach to interdisciplinary system design. When it comes to the engine concept, too, there is room for major optimization. Take a variable cycle engine (VCE), for example: The VCE marks a revolutionary step forward in technology; it appreciably reduces fuel burn, thus greatly improving mission flexibility, among other advantages. 

To go forward with such an engine, however, its components and control system must be special in terms of their characteristics: It needs a variable compressor, a variable turbine, a variable nozzle, and variable flow control. The use of smart engine technology will be decisive here: It must be matched precisely to the intended use of the weapon system.