thejapannews– France, Germany and Spain said on May 17 that they have agreed to move forward in developing a new fighter jet.
This would be Europe’s largest defence project, costing an estimated $121.4 billion.
France had earlier said that developing its own fighter jets is crucial to maintaining European autonomy.
In the next phase of the project, entitled the Future Combat Air System (FCAS), the three countries will split initial costs of $4.25 billion.
“France, Germany and Spain are building one of the most important tools for their sovereignty and that of Europe in the 21st century,” French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly tweeted.
French, German and Spanish aviation companies are to participate in the program, which will see the replacement of the French Rafale and German and Spanish Eurofighters beginning in 2040.
The initial costs will allow for the finalisation of the designs of both the combat jet and a drone by 2024, as well as the building of demonstrators, a French defence ministry source said.
A dispute over how to share intellectual property rights had earlier held up negotiations.
Of note, the new fighter aircraft will not carry black boxes, which preserve sensitive commercial know-how, the French defence source said.
The process of approving funding must now receive approval from the German parliament.