Similar programs, the Tempest and FCAS (Future Combat Air System) fighters, recreate a disagreement from the 1980s when France did not want to participate in the EFA project. Years later, Dassault put the Rafale into service while Germany, UK, Italy and Spain adopted the Eurofighter Typhoon.
Now, the division remains, however, more balanced. On the one hand, France, Germany and Spain are investing in the New Generation Fighter (NGF), part of a package that includes a combat cloud and an unmanned aerial platform.
On the other side are the UK, Sweden and Italy, which have agreed to seek synergies to replace Typhoon and Gripens in the future.
It is precisely the Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Force, General Luca Goretti, who said on Tuesday that the two programs should merge in the future.
“It is natural that these two realities will merge into one, because investing huge financial resources in two equivalent programs is unthinkable,” Goretti told Italian lawmakers.
Despite Goretti’s optimism, it remains to be understood how the advent of Brexit will affect a possible union. The departure of the British from the European Union is still controversial, which could make any agreement difficult.
Both projects aim to create 6th generation fighters, more modern and capable than aircraft like the Lockheed Martin F-35, for example. Until the entry into service, expected for 2040, many things can still happen.