Airbus and Dassault agree joint FCAS fighter proposal

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FILE PHOTO: A French Air Force Airbus A400M is seen on the tarmac at the factory of French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation in Merignac

PARIS (Reuters) – Industrial partners including Airbus and Dassault Aviation have reached a tentative deal on the European FCAS fighter project after weeks of deadlock over workshare and other topics, a person close to the matter said on Friday.

The agreement, first reported by La Tribune, paves the way for talks to resume at a political level among the project’s three government backers, France, Germany and Spain, the source said.

Airbus and Dassault both declined to comment.

The Future Combat Air System (FCAS) is designed to replace the German-Spanish Eurofighter and Dassault’s Rafale with a combination of manned and unmanned aircraft from 2040.

First floated by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron in 2017, the programme has been dogged by political differences as well as corporate disagreements.

It is also up against the rival BAE Systems-led Tempest fighter project involving Britain, Sweden and Italy.

A joint proposal from European defence group Airbus and Dassault still faces outstanding issues, including intellectual property matters, Dassault Chief Executive Eric Trappier said last month.

Dassault had accepted that Airbus will receive a larger overall share of FCAS work but remained ready to pursue a “Plan B” alternative if the talks failed, Trappier also said.

The industrial partners in the aircraft programme are Airbus on behalf of Germany, France’s Dassault and Indra of Spain.

Separate negotiations have been taking place with engine suppliers Safran of France, MTU Aero in Germany and ITP, a Spanish subsidiary of Rolls Royce.

(Reporting by Tim Hepher and Laurence Frost; Editing by Mark Heinrich and David Goodman)

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