Spanish industry has signed the initial framework contract of the Future Combat Air System’s (FCAS) demonstrator phase.
The contract confirms Airbus as the lead in Spain for the New Generation Fighter (NGF) and prime contractor in the Low Observability domain of the European defence programme.
Signed with French and German industry partners, the signature closes a ten month process of on-boarding Spain as the third nation. The contract covers initial work on developing the programme demonstrators and maturing cutting-edge technologies, with the ambition to begin the NGF demo flight tests in the second half of 2026.
Alberto Gutiérrez, President of Airbus Spain, said: “This signature builds on Airbus’ acknowledged role as the aerospace and defence prime contractor in Spain and ensures we can support Spain’s best interests by contributing our proven design, industrial and technical capabilities, as well as our experience in successful sovereign European programmes.”
The launch of the Demonstrator Phase underlines the political confidence and determination of the FCAS partner nations and associated industry to move forward and cooperate in a fair and balanced manner. The increased momentum enables industry to deploy the necessary resources and best capabilities to develop this decisive European defence project.
FCAS will provide the next generation of sovereign air power and represents the future of Spain’s aerospace and defence industry.
Innovations for FCAS
Airbus has concluded a pilot phase of the “Innovations for FCAS” (I4 FCAS) initiative which aims at involving German non-traditional defence in the development of Future Combat Air System (FCAS).
During the pilot phase, 18 innovative players worked on 14 projects in different areas
Among these 14 projects, Airbus engineers have worked closely with SMEs and startups to achieve concrete results such as:
A first flight-test approved launcher of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) from of a transport aircraft. This project is the result of a cooperation between Airbus as A400M integrator, Geradts GmbH for the launcher and SFL GmbH from Stuttgart for UAV integration and supported by DLR simulations. An agile design and development approach allowed for rapid prototyping and flight readiness in only 6 months.
A secure combat cloud demonstrator: a first time transfer of secured operating systems into a cloud environment. Kernkonzept GmbH from Dresden together with Airbus CyberSecurity have shown how IT security can be used for highest security requirements on a governmental cloud system.
A demonstrator of applied artificial intelligence on radio frequency analysis. Hellsicht GmbH from Munich trained their algorithms on Airbus-provided datasets, allowing for a unique capability of real time fingerprinting of certain emitters, such as radars.