French Safran and German MTU Aero Engines, roped in to power the European Future Combat Air System (FCAS) jet, have settled on the former’s appointment as prime contractor in the initial phase and then forming a 50-50 joint venture, after being mired in dispute on who will be accorded program leadership.
Paris and Berlin have reached an agreement- Safran will be the main contractor, while MTU, the subcontractor, in the Research & Technology phase. The companies will then work in tandem and set up a joint venture to develop the engine, and get the required certification. France’s Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) is expecting a proposal on work distribution with the deadline set for December 6, La Tribune reported on Thursday.
“The two parties have worked out a solution regarding the European Next Generation Fighter (NGF) program,” the newspaper reported, citing industry sources as saying.
“In the frame of this partnership, Safran Aircraft Engines will take the lead in engine design and integration, and MTU Aero Engines will take the lead in engine services. MTU Aero Engines will be in charge of the low and high-pressure compressors and the low-pressure turbine, while Safran will be responsible for combustor, high-pressure turbine and the afterburner. The existing joint venture Aerospace Embedded Solutions (AES) will be in charge of the engine control hardware and software under the responsibility and the lead of Engine integrator (Safran Aircraft Engines). The intention is to achieve a balanced French–German industry program share, assuming balanced funding by France and Germany,” Safran said in a statement in February 2019.
Joel Barre, head of DGA procurement office, said that two obstacles needed to be overcome before setting the ball rolling on the development of technology demonstrator of the NGF, by Dassault Aviation, reports SLDinfo.com.
“The first element is organizing the entry of Spain into the program,” Barre said.
The Spanish defense minister, Margarita Robles, signed June 17, the opening day of the Paris air show, a framework agreement to bring Spain into the FCAS program, led by France and Dassault, and partnered with Germany and Airbus D&S. “Spanish firm Indra will be named a major subcontractor for Dassault, and will be awarded R&T contracts,” said a source.
“The second, more sensitive, element lay in appointing Safran as prime contractor on the engine program, with MTU Aero Engines as industrial partner. The industrial responsibilities should be clearly set out to ensure balance in the work assigned to the companies,” the official said.
He explained that problems with the TP-400 turboprop engines of the Airbus A400M plane slowed down its deliveries.
Germany had ordered the largest number of A400M, opening the way for German industry to learn how to build core engine parts. That led to costly delays and a French commitment to avoid future large industrial consortiums, the report said.
“We are in discussion with both companies to maintain balance of industrial sharing between the nations,” Barre asserted.