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EU defense majors starting sensor suite work for FCAS next-generation aircraft

FCAS sixth-generation fighter concept
Photo: Thales

Germany, Spain and France have given their green light to FCMS, Indra and Thales to start the development of the innovative suite of sensors that will equip the Future European Combat Air System.

The French Armament General Directorate (DGA) signed a contract with Spain’s Indra on behalf of the three nations to incorporate the sensor suite for the aircraft that is often referred to as a sixth-generation jet fighter. The contract is part of the Phase 1 contractual framework and follows the launch of the demonstration phase of the program in February this year.

The Phase 1 A concept study for sensors will last for one year, a period which may be extended by another six months.

The consortium will work on the design of the concepts required to meet the stakes of 2040 and beyond for the next generation combat system, involving a connected and distributed architecture of sensors, the design of future sensors architectures and the maturation of the associated sensors technologies.

This distributed sensor architecture will leverage the capabilities provided by the NGWS/FCAS combat cloud, with improved system situational awareness and increased platforms survivability.

The development of the sensor pillar is essential to ensure consistent architectures that are integrated into the new generation fighters (NGF), unmanned systems and remote operators (RCs) and the combat cloud. The superiority of the NGWS/FCAS will largely depend on the capacity of its network of sensors to compile more and better information than the adversary.

The three countries hope to begin test flights with the next-generation fighter by 2026.