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FCAS clears major hurdle as German parliament OKs €50B defense spending plan

FCAS concept

After Germany, France and Spain reached a definitive deal on the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) in May this year, the German federal parliament has now signed off on a 50.3 billion euro defense spending budget that includes funds for the program.

The government’s draft for the 2022 federal budget was approved on June 23 in Berlin.

In 2022, the defense budget is expected to increase by around 3.4 billion euros compared with 2021 to approximately 50.3 billion euros. This means that the planned 2022 defense budget, for which the cabinet has now given the green light, is characterized by increases in almost all spending areas compared with the 2021 budget.

The decision will allow the country to start preparations for Phase 1B and Phase 2 of the program that will develop an international next-generation fighter aircraft system.

Phase 1b will strive to develop a flight-capable aircraft by 2027, while Phase 2 would deliver a demonstrator for first tests. Officials previously hoped to have a first demonstrator ready by 2026.

“The Bundestag has just approved a crucial step for the construction of the FCAS and our future European fighter aircraft,” French defense minister Florence Parly said welcoming the German decision. “It will be operational in 2040 and is meant to be the spearhead of our air power. Together, we continue to build a strong and concrete European defense.”

In addition to laying the groundwork for the FCAS program, the highlights of Germany’s spending plan include funding for the Type 212 Common Design submarines and the Naval Strike Missile Block 1A.

Another big ticket item is the modernization of 150 Puma infantry fighting vehicles to allow them to reach a level of capability necessary for the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF). The so-called S1 version of the Puma is to go even further than the VJTF Pumas in terms of details.

Furthermore, the PEGASUS (PErsistent German Airborne SUrveillance System) airborne, signal-capturing reconnaissance system can be advanced. The obsolete fleet service boats are to be replaced, while the purchase of new anti-submarine warfare aircraft is also planned.