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Europe confirms the FCAS plan’s 6th generation fighter jet development programme

he nations of the European Union are currently entering the 6th generation fighter aircraft race.

Europe confirms the FCAS plan's 6th generation fighter jet development programme
As every nation gets ready for upcoming fighter jets. The nations of the European Union are currently entering the 6th generation fighter aircraft race. Not only that, but it also intends to create certain covert missions for aircraft that can communicate with one another and contribute to the success of the battle zone.

The Future Combat Air System’s long-awaited approval has now been granted, and Germany, France, and Spain are working together to develop the new generation of aircraft and its technology. Airbus, which is well-known in the commercial aircraft sector, and Dassault, which is well-known for its expertise in the production of private jets and fighter jet aircraft, are leading the effort.

The US has already stated that it will launch its 6th gen first fighter jet within the next eight years, and the UK, Japan, and China have joined forces to develop a winning version of the aircraft. China and Russia are also vying for the lead in the development of similar technologies that improve national security.

Airbus has confirmed that it will work with France, Germany, and Spain to build the Future Combat Air System (FCAS).(Opens in a new browser tab)

By utilizing the networked capabilities of pooled platforms, FCAS, a combat system of systems, will deliver escalating effects, bringing the next level of air power to severely restricted situations. The next-generation weapon system, which pairs next-generation fighters with remote carriers as force multipliers, is the foundation of FCAS.

Additionally, while being completely compatible with allied forces across domains from the land to the cyber, manned and unmanned platforms will also contribute their specialness to the collective capabilities. The networked capabilities of all pooled platforms can be used by the air combat cloud.

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FCAS project, which is expected to cost around $100 billion, will be among the most expensive programs in European history. Due to the lead and profit share, Dassault and Airbus initially had some internal issues with this project. However, they have since all negotiated to a standard agreement, which will be advantageous to the entire European Union.

The 6th fighter jet will be created in collaboration with France, Germany, and Spain. The first flight of the aircraft is scheduled for 2027, and it will be introduced in 2040.

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A Next-Generation Weapon System and other air assets will make up the FCAS in the operational battlespace of the future. The New Generation Fighter, a sixth-generation jet fighter, will be one of the NGWS’s components. It will replace existing France’s Rafales, Germany’s Typhoons, and Spain’s EF-18 Hornets by about 2040.

Dassault will be the NGF’s primary contractor, and Airbus will be in charge of developing the system’s supporting combat cloud and auxiliary remote-carrying vehicles. It will fly from the future aircraft carrier of the French Navy and be carrier-capable as well. While MTU Aero Engines will serve as the primary partner for the initial phase of research and technology, Safran Aircraft Engines will serve as the prime contractor for the next-generation fighter aircraft engine, assuming the lead in engine design and integration.

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Airbus is also developing a novel modular design for a heavily equipped “heavy loyal wingman” that will be used as a component of the larger Future Combat Air System. Three replaceable radar payloads for air-to-air, air-to-ground, and electronic attacks are available on the heavy RC. A variety of weapons or effectors, as well as jamming pods, can be stored inside a weapons bay.

The majority of the aircraft and wingmen are highly advanced and attack the zone in coordinated formations with the aid of satellite and solar-powered surveillance aircraft, which keep track of the enemy activities and send information to the coordinated zones and update the details during the battle time.

In addition, the same wingman’s internal bay can carry a variety of weapons, including MBDA meteor and beyond visual range air-to-air missiles. The frontal section of the loyal wingman designs can be seen with the radar section, which could be used for the necessary actions to set the target identification. Joint direct attack munitions GBU 54 are used.

Airbus is already developing numerous autonomous aircraft for commercial and military use, which will be a ground-breaking innovation in the region of Europe. The addition of such technology will lower pilot fatalities and boost automation in the defense industry.

Please share your thoughts on the FCAS program with us in the comment section.

He is an aviation journalist and the founder of Jetline Marvel. Dawal gained a comprehensive understanding of the commercial aviation industry.  He has worked in a range of roles for more than 9 years in the aviation and aerospace industry. He has written more than 1700 articles in the aerospace industry. When he was 19 years old, he received a national award for his general innovations and holds the patent. He completed two postgraduate degrees simultaneously, one in Aerospace and the other in Management. Additionally, he authored nearly six textbooks on aviation and aerospace tailored for students in various educational institutions. jetlinem4(at)gmail.com

Aerospace

Pakistan’s Ambitious Plan to Acquire and Produce Chinese FC-31 Stealth Fighter

Pakistan’s Ambitious Plan to Acquire and Produce Chinese FC-31 Stealth Fighter

Pakistan is embarking on an ambitious endeavor to bolster its air defense capabilities with the acquisition and potential local production of the Chinese FC-31 stealth fighter jet.

Talks are reportedly underway between the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, the developer of the FC-31, signaling a significant leap forward for Pakistan’s military aviation prowess.

The FC-31, a mid-sized, twin-engine fifth-generation fighter, promises advanced air combat capabilities, including stealth technology that surpasses anything currently in the PAF‘s fleet. With plans to retire the JF-17 production line by 2030, the FC-31 could emerge as the new flagship aircraft, offering unmatched performance and versatility.

Experts speculate that Pakistan’s interest in the FC-31 could also signal broader implications for the international market. As China develops both land and carrier versions of the FC-31, analysts foresee it becoming a cost-effective alternative to pricier options like the F-35, potentially challenging the dominance of the US aerospace industry and reshaping global strategic rivalries.

Adding complexity to the deal is China’s push for the WS-13 engine, previously rejected for the JF-17 but now under consideration for both the FC-31 and future JF-17 variants. Engine standardization could streamline logistical and maintenance processes for the PAF, further enhancing the appeal of the FC-31.

While negotiations continue, the success of the FC-31 acquisition and local production hinges on several factors, including the outcome of the WS-13 engine discussions. Pakistan’s pursuit of the FC-31 comes amidst its eagerness to replace its aging fleet, with previous attempts to upgrade its F-16s by the United States due to geopolitical pressures.

Amidst these developments, Pakistan previous interest in the Turkish-made Kaan fifth-generation fighter underscores its eagerness to replace its aging fleet. Despite previous attempts to secure upgrades for its F-16s from the United States, Pakistan’s quest for advanced aerial capabilities has led it to explore alternative avenues, with the FC-31 emerging as a promising contender in its pursuit of air superiority.

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Aerospace

Airbus presents new Wingman concept at ILA Berlin Airshow

Airbus presents new Wingman concept at ILA Berlin Airshow

At the prestigious ILA aerospace trade show in Berlin, Airbus Defence and Space made waves by introducing its pioneering Wingman concept, marking a significant leap forward in military aviation technology.

Teaming up with Helsing, Europe’s leading defense AI and software company, Airbus showcased a framework cooperation agreement aimed at revolutionizing the realm of artificial intelligence (AI) in defense.

Airbus Wingman

The Wingman concept represents a paradigm shift in aerial warfare, introducing unmanned platforms equipped with advanced AI capabilities to augment the capabilities of manned combat aircraft. Pilots in command aircraft such as the Eurofighter command these autonomous drones, positioning them to undertake high-risk mission tasks that would traditionally pose a significant threat to manned-only aircraft.

Central to the Wingman concept is Manned-Unmanned Teaming, wherein manned aircraft serve as “command fighters,” retaining ultimate control over mission decisions while delegating tactical tasks to unmanned systems. This synergistic collaboration promises to enhance mission flexibility, increase combat mass, and minimize risk exposure for pilots, thereby bolstering overall operational effectiveness.

The capabilities of the Wingman extend across a diverse spectrum of mission profiles, ranging from reconnaissance and target jamming to precision strikes against both ground and aerial targets. Equipped with advanced sensors, connectivity solutions, and a diverse array of armaments, the Wingman stands poised to redefine the operational landscape of modern air forces.

While the Wingman model showcased at ILA Berlin represents the pinnacle of current technological innovation, it also serves as a catalyst for future design iterations. As with any pioneering concept, refinement and evolution are inevitable, with each generation of the Wingman poised to push the boundaries of aerial warfare even further.

MQ-28 Ghost Bat

Boeing introduced the MQ-28 Ghost Bat, an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV), which made its maiden flight in February 2021. Developed by Boeing Australia, the MQ-28 leverages artificial intelligence to serve as a force multiplier for manned fighter jets.

The Ghost Bat is engineered to operate in tandem with existing military aircraft, enhancing and extending the capabilities of airborne missions. This cost-effective UCAV is designed to work as an intelligent teammate, complementing and amplifying the effectiveness of manned operations in various mission profiles.

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Aerospace

Take First Glimpse of USAF B-21 Raider, Latest Nuclear Stealth Bomber

Take First Glimpse of USAF B-21 Raider, Latest Nuclear Stealth Bomber
Image:USAF

The United States Air Force (USAF) has unveiled the first photographs of the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider bomber in flight.

These images were captured during test flights conducted by the B-21 Combined Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base, marking a significant milestone in the development of this sixth-generation aircraft.

Currently undergoing flight tests in California, the B-21 Raider represents the next generation of stealth bombers. With an estimated cost of around $700 million per aircraft, the B-21 Raider is poised to become a crucial component of the USAF’s arsenal for conventional Long Range Strike missions.

According to Air Force briefings, the B-21 Raider will form part of a comprehensive family of systems, encompassing Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance capabilities, electronic warfare, communication systems, and more. Notably, the bomber will be nuclear-capable and adaptable for both manned and unmanned operations.

It boasts the flexibility to deploy a wide array of stand-off and direct-attack munitions, ensuring versatility in various combat scenarios. One of the B-21’s distinguishing features is its extensive integration of digital technology, as highlighted in discussions held during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

Designed with an open systems architecture, the B-21 Raider is built to swiftly incorporate emerging technologies, ensuring its effectiveness against evolving threats over time. The B-21 Raider is slated to replace the aging B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit bombers, bolstering US national security objectives and providing reassurance to allies and partners worldwide.

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