SCAF: In the Senate, Mr. Licornu expressed his support for Dassault Aviation

A few days after the British Ministry of Defense [MoD] Reported on the progress of the Tempest program, which aims to develop a sixth-generation combat aircraft, CEO of Dassault Aviation, Eric Trapier, once again lamented the predicament in which the future air combat system finds itself [SCAF]a project implemented in cooperation with Germany and Spain.

As a reminder, Dassault Aviation intends to retain responsibility for the cranes that will allow it to ensure the project management of the new generation of combat aircraft. [NGF – New Generation Fighter] It was built for it, especially when it comes to flight and stealth controls. What Airbus opposes, represented in this program by its German and Spanish subsidiaries.

This feud has been going on for months … And recently, Michael Schuellehorn, CEO of Airbus Defense and Space, did not give the impression of wanting to abandon ballast.

There is indeed a difference of interpretation between us and Dassault on how to implement real industrial cooperation. Our disagreement relates specifically to the division of tasks on flight controls and stealth. If a Dassault project manager would like to direct these two key files stealth and agility without referring to us, he is not. Airbus is not Dassault’s supplier of this aircraft. “We are the lead partner,” said Mr. Schuellehorn. Addition: “They declared themselves the best athlete” [meilleur athlète, ndlr] To claim that we, Airbus, know nothing about the flight controls of combat aircraft is not only wrong, but also contributes to undermining the spirit of cooperation and mutual respect.”

In addition, the German Ministry of Defense indicated in a recent report the possibility of abandoning the program. “Disputes between manufacturers – particularly between Dassault Aviation and Airbus – are delaying the start of the next phase [maturation technologique]. If an agreement is not reached that satisfies the interests of the three countries for equal participation, further cooperation should be called into question.”

On July 20, on the occasion of presenting [excellents] Dassault Avation’s semi-annual results, Mr. Trappier has remained steadfast in his positions. “We can’t stay with a pen in the air any longer. At some point, you have to say ‘stop or go.’” If our NGF leadership is not recognized and accepted by Airbus, then we have a Plan B that we are working on. But it’s not time to talk about that yet. Plan A is still NGF.”

During his first hearing in the Senate as Minister of the Armed Forces, Sebastien Licornu did not fail to appeal the position in which the junta found itself.

“The SCAF is a major programme. However, I am not afraid of timing difficulties at the moment. Because these are the last big stalls before passing the second [phase]. These large industrial collaborations are always an adventure. I think we support them all in the sense that we clearly see that it is in our interest to develop our European strategic autonomy. [Mais] raises questions. We must also respect the technical knowledge of each home. The minister emphasized that Dassault be vigilant about its flight controls, for example, is normal and I understand that,” noting that he had a “special agenda with the Spaniards” and that “meetings” on this issue with the “Germans” were planned for the end of August , or until the beginning of September.

Then, addressing the issue of replacing used Rafales sold to Croatia, at the end of the hearing, Mr. Licorno emphasized Dassault Aviation’s “flexibility” as well as its ability to meet deadlines and speed up its production rates.

“In terms of budget, the means are there. And if there is a company that seems to understand what I am trying to do under the authority of the President of the Republic [la mise en place d’une « économie de guerre », ndlr]The minister explained that it is perhaps Dassault Aviation that, in the near future, will have to redefine its capacity to increase the load.

It should also be noted that Mr Licornu referred to Franco-British cooperation using terms that a French minister had not heard since Brexit…

“The United Kingdom, I believe in it very much. I think Brexit does not change our collective security agenda in Europe,” the minister launched, before recalling Franco-British proximity in military matters and discussing “the prospects for a new agenda to allow us to take a certain number of actions.” concrete, not just industrial.”

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