Yesterday Laurent Collet-Billon, head of the French Defense procurement agency (DGA), and Bernard Gray, responsible for procurement at the British Ministry of Defense, launched the feasibility phase of the FCAS (Future Combat Air System) program ), which aims to define the specifications of the future Anglo-French remotely piloted combat aircraft.
The total value of the contract related to this phase led by BAE Systems and Dassault is 150 million.
In this context, Finmeccanica - Selex ES and Thales have been awarded a two-year contract to define the FCAS suite of multifunction sensors and communication sub-systems.
The two European companies will work on the project with a distribution of workloads to 50%. In addition to the specifications on sensors and communication systems of the future aircraft, the companies will define the times and operating costs associated with the production of FCAS. The cooperation also includes the preparatory activities for the design phase. Other industrial companies in the UK and in France will also be involved as needed.
In the field of on-board sensors, Finmeccanica - Selex ES and Thales are partners of the British and French defense ministries, as well as BAE Systems and Dassault Aviation. The agreement thus creates an unparalleled European partnership in the defense electronics sector, which will pave the way for Britain and France to effectively operate remotely piloted combat aircraft in critical environments. Thanks to innovative sensor solutions, Finmeccanica - Selex ES and Thales will support and develop technological sovereignty and a solid base of expertise in the two countries from which both piloted and unmanned combat platforms will benefit.
Pierre Eric Pommellet, Executive Vice-President, Thales' Defense Mission Systems said: "The support of France and the United Kingdom is essential for the future of remotely piloted aircraft systems in Europe, with this contract Thales and Finmeccanica - Selex ES will strengthen their cooperation in the defense electronics sector and will develop avionics sensors able to meet the requirements of the new generation platforms ".
Norman Bone, Managing Director of Finmeccanica's Airborne and Space Systems Division - Selex ES commented: "With the collapse of European defense budgets, collaboration programs such as FCAS offer our customers the high technology they need to address emerging threats while maintaining sustainability from an economic point of view.This project, which brings together two national champions in the defense electronics sector, will allow our two countries to start working on a new generation combat system " .
Source: Selex ES
(photo: Dassault Aviation)