Relaunched European Defense
Enforce European UnionJune 26th, 2018
France’s Minister of Defense, Florence Parly, and her German counterpart, Ursula von der Leyen, signed two joint letters of intent on the Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) and the Air Combat System of the future (next Generation Weapon System within a Future Combat Air System).
These two letters solidify the will of France and Germany, expressed during the Franco-German Council of Ministers in July 2017, to jointly build the weapons systems of the future and to act for the construction of European defense.
SCAF is the air combat system of the 21st century. It will bring together a new multi-purpose combat aircraft, adapted to seek contemporary air threats and to exploit artificial intelligence, network-based combat capabilities, including drones of various types. It should be commissioned by 2040.
The letter of intent sets the goal of launching a study phase no later than the end of 2018. In this phase, the architectural work will be accompanied by the rapid launch of demonstrations. These technological actions will have to prefigure by 2025 in order for the concepts to be retained for the future operational system. The letter of intent designates France as the leading nation on the project. It also provides for other partners, especially European partners, to join in the project.
Regarding the future battle tank, France and Germany share the same ambitious vision of a system based on the most innovative technologies that are able to ensure operational superiority in all contexts and on all terrains. Fully integrated with the Scorpion program in France and the HEER system in Germany, MGCS will be the reference terrestrial system for its deployment in 2035.
The letter sets the goal of launching a joint demonstration phase by mid-2019. Adapted to the evolutions of the threats and the technologies, it foresees a stage point in 2022 and the establishment by 2024 of a detailed operation. It designates Germany as the project's leading nation and provides a solid foundation for a broader cooperation agreement, including other European partners.
As a sign of the quality of Franco-German cooperation, today the launch of the Franco-German CSO3 military satellite on Ariane 6 has also been determined. The Ariane 6 project, which France fully supports, is a major challenge for the sovereign access of Europe to space.
While France and Germany have embarked on a necessary defense effort in view of the changing strategic context, these programs will constitute a major contribution to the security of Europeans and to the development of a modern Atlantic Alliance.