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Airbus CEO says partners converging towards FCAS fighter deal

Published Nov 29, 2022 10:59AM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury takes part in a panel discussion at the International Air Transport Association's (IATA) Annual General Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., October 4, 2021. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The head of European planemaker Airbus said on Tuesday partners in a future European fighter were converging towards contractual agreements on the next phase of the Franco-German-Spanish project.

The latest comments on the status of the $100-billion FCAS project came after France's Dassault Aviation appeared to deny French and German government statements of a deal.

Talks on the next phase of a planned demonstrator, known as phase 1B, are a key milestone awaited by investors, prompting scrutiny of a series of differently worded recent statements.

France's prime minister said on Friday an agreement had been reached between the two main industrial partners, but Dassault said immediately afterwards that "it is not done yet".

A week earlier, the same company denied a German government declaration suggesting a deal had been reached.

"There is a convergence towards contracts to be signed, or being signed as we speak for some of them," Airbus Chief Executive Guillaume Faury told reporters on Tuesday when asked to clarify the status of talks.

He said the FCAS phase 1B will move forward when all the contractual scheme is agreed. "We are in that phase: ...going to contract," he added.

"There are a lot of partners, there are three governments, and as long as all this contractual setup is not finalized, and the ink is not dry, we are not at phase 1B."

He said this was in line with a previous Airbus statement.

Earlier this month Airbus said discussions among industry and governments had concluded and that a number of formal steps were needed before a contract signature, which it has previously said it aims to achieve by the end of the year.

French President Emmanuel Macron and then German Chancellor Angela Merkel first announced plans in July 2017 for FCAS, which will include a fighter jet and a range of associated weapons including drones. Spain joined later.

Partners in Europe's rival Tempest fighter programme including Britain and Italy are meanwhile expected to sign a deal to merge their efforts with those of Japan before the end of the year, a European source familiar with the project said.

Airbus CEO says partners converging towards FCAS fighter deal

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