MTU@Paris Air Show 2019

New fighter is taking shape

To date, the new European fighter jet has existed solely in simulations and studies. Now in Le Bourget, a model is on display for the first time. In other news from the Paris Air Show, Germany, France and Spain have signed an agreement for Europe’s future FCAS defense system. 

As is tradition, the French president opened the Paris Air Show. But this year, his tour of the exhibition grounds in Le Bourget included a special stop for military aviation in Europe: together with German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen and her French colleague Florence Parly, President Emmanuel Macron unveiled the first mock-up of the new European Next-Generation Fighter (NGF) jet. 

The NGF is being designed jointly by French group Dassault and Airbus and should be ready to enter service in 2040. However, to date the new European fighter jet has existed solely in simulations and studies. Now the first model is on display in Le Bourget. A concept study will run until 2021, with the first demonstrator scheduled to be finished by 2026. 

The new fighter jet is embedded in a larger overall architecture dubbed the Future Combat Air System, or FCAS. This encompasses all systems used to protect European airspace, including drones. At Le Bourget, the defense ministers of Germany, France and Spain signed several agreements to drive forward development of the FCAS.  Spain will thus become the third partner in the FCAS network. 

MTU and French aviation company Safran are leading development of the new combat aircraft’s engine, which will operate under the name Next Generation Fighter Engine (NEFE). This is why Macron visited the Safran booth during his tour, where he also met with MTU’s CEO Reiner Winkler and CPO Michael Schreyögg. 

MTU has a long history of expertise not only in the development of military engines, but also in providing support throughout their entire life cycle. NEFE will shape the development of Europe’s military engine business for decades to come. The project has now taken another positive step forward on the political front—good news for MTU.