SCAF, or Dreams of Europe about the fighter of a new generation

Old "allies"

One of the main aviation News April of this year there was news of an agreement between France and Germany, aimed, inter alia, at creating a new generation fighter. This was announced at the International Aerospace Fair ILA-2018, which was held in Berlin. The complex was designated Système de combat aérien du futur (SCAF).

The word "complex" reveals the essence of the agreement. And the point is not that each modern fighter aircraft is a set of complex systems. The agreement reached should be "a key element of European security." It will combine the development of the fighter, a number of unmanned vehicles, as well as systems of interaction, control and management. As an approximate date for the appearance of the new aircraft, the 2040 was called, but there are no guarantees that this will indeed be the case and that the test dates will not be postponed. In the case of so complex and expensive developments this cannot be ruled out.

About the future fighter himself knows little. Now the main actors are two, and they are more than weighty. This is a pan-European aircraft manufacturer Airbus and the national French Dassault Aviation. “We are ready and we are talking to our ministries of defense, and our authorities: we are ready, now for the cause,” said Dassault Aviation CEO Eric Trapier. The “first violin” will be the company from France. There is nothing surprising in this: behind her back is the creation of such internationally recognized cars as the Dassault Mirage 2000 and Dassault Rafale.

Dassault Rafale

Strictly speaking, in modern Europe only France can be called a country with a full cycle of fighter aircraft. The British aircraft industry is no longer capable of developing and mass-producing such machines. The famous “Harrier” even in 60 was difficult to call “the king of the sky”, and after it the British switched to cooperation with other European countries. In the case of Germany, the national combat aircraft after the Second World War became “taboo”. The times of fear of the coming to power of the new Hitler are long gone, but cooperation in this issue with other states for the Germans and now has a higher priority than the purely national aircraft industry.

Dassot and New Fighter

The news about the new fighter itself did not come as a surprise. The signing of the contract could happen after a year and, for example, after two. With vague wording about the "threat of a new war in Europe" and unclear deadlines for implementation. I was really surprised by the concept of a fighter of a new generation, presented by the corporation Airbus Defense and Space in November last year. The spectacular presentation gave an overview of the car with the straightforward name of New Fighter. It should be part of an extensive military program. According to the plan, the fighters will interact with both AEW and satellite constellations, as well as with new UAVs. The concept was drawn with a clear emphasis towards stealth, which, of course, makes it related to F-22 and the Russian PAK FA. On the other hand, the thesis on the “theft of technology”, voiced by the aircraft enthusiasts, is completely incorrect here. The plane shown in the image is made using an aerodynamic tailless design. Very popular with Europeans. At the same time, both the F-22, and the F-35, and the Su-57 have a normal aerodynamic configuration. The presence of an analogy of the swiveling front end, which we see on the PAK FA, is also not a serious indication that European aircraft manufacturers have lost their originality.

New fighter

The question, in general, is different. Shown New Fighter may not have any relation to the future fighter. Engineers of Dassault can use some ideas, but with high probability the demonstrated concept will remain only a beautiful picture, and the future European fighter will be created from scratch, as they say.

In this regard, we can not say about the main trend of recent years. Namely, the creation of unmanned aerial vehicles. So far, they have proven themselves as scouts and as a means for pinpoint strikes on the ground. But so far. In the future, the fighter is also likely to be unmanned. So the New Fighter (and it is stated first of all as a manned machine) may be incorrect, especially conceptual.

Another option that is often paid attention to is the possibility of coexistence on the same base of a manned and unmanned fighter. When one controlled aircraft acts as the control center of the "flock" drones. An interesting approach that can get a start in life. But it is not a fact that in the case of SCAF, this direction will be chosen. At this stage, it is generally useless to draw any conclusions. It will be possible to judge more or less exactly when (if) a technology demonstrator will be presented. Offhand: it will take at least five to ten years to wait. During this time, the role of incorporeal systems will only increase.

New fighter

Attempt number five

Finally, the most important thing. That, without discussing what, in principle, it does not make sense to talk about Système de combat aérien du futur. SCAF is not the first attempt to create “something European”. Few people now remember that BAE Systems worked on 1990 on FOAS (Future Offensive Air System), which was closed only on 2005. They wanted to create a promising combat aircraft to replace the Tornado GR.4 in the Royal Air Force. Later, the program was renamed DPOC (Deep and Persistent Offensive Capability) and finally closed in the 2010 year. All that remains of the British beginnings is a full-scale model of a promising combat aircraft. They applied their experience in the case of the Taranis UAV. Well, the French decided to create their own nEUROn, in general, similar to the British design. Taranis and nEUROn, however, are related to the full-fledged fighter of the new generation mediated. Still, different classes of combat vehicles.

Here, perhaps, it would be appropriate to recall that once the Eurofighter Typhoon and Dassault Rafale were supposed to be "one." In the 1983 year, at a meeting of the chiefs of staff of the French, German, British, Italian and Spanish Air Forces, they decided to create a consortium called Eurofighter, which would create a new generation European fighter. Already at the stage of the formation of the tactical and technical tasks, the participants began to argue: France, unlike the others, needed not only a land, but also a deck plane. They were not satisfied with the weight and some other parameters. The result is well known to all of us: France withdrew from the consortium, creating in the end its Rafale.

But do not forget that then there was a cold war. It would seem, is not the best time for disagreements between the allies. In any case, in the face of a real threat from the East, it was easier for Europeans to come to an agreement than now, when the military danger for the EU is ephemeral, and the chances of actually pressing the United States on the world market for fighter aircraft are not very high.

In such circumstances, we can not exclude the new "divorce" between Germany and France. Another quite possible option is to lower the project on the brakes. Under the bravura speech of German politicians about the merits of F-35, to the purchase of which Germany has strongly favored in recent years. Both of these scenarios, of course, are far from the only ones, but so far they look the most realistic.


Until Europe can work out its own development vector, independent of the United States, it’s generally difficult to talk about such ambitious projects. In the extreme case, the Americans will try to drive a wedge into an agreement between the French and the Germans, but so far even they do not need it. Lockheed Martin feels quite confident in the global aircraft market. And every year Europe can offer less and less.
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  1. 0
    8 June 2018 06: 07
    SCAF, or Dreams of Europe about the fighter of a new generation
    buy better from the Chinese, you can also from the Americans, but it is much more expensive. Yes
    1. +1
      8 June 2018 08: 45
      The Americans completely refuse to sell the F-22, but how much the fifth from the Chinese is not clear
      1. +2
        8 June 2018 09: 31
        Quote: BlackMokona
        The Americans completely refuse to sell the F-22

        The mattresses do not have production of serial lizards. Why sell it? 187 boards, which are not the fact that everything is in order and in good condition?
        Quote: BlackMokona
        and how many fifth is the Chinese incomprehensible

        The Chinese have no 5th generation fighter. Moreover, in the world there is no exact and general concept of a 5th generation fighter, since each side puts its own vision into this concept.
        1. +1
          8 June 2018 21: 25
          "in the world there is no exact and general concept of a 5th generation fighter" ///

          There is. 10 points, it seems. F-22 passes almost all, the rest of the competitors in 5-7 out of 10
          1. 0
            14 June 2018 08: 45
            What does the F-22 have, what the Su-57 does not have? Quite the contrary, the F-22 is initially extremely single-function.
          2. 0
            14 June 2018 21: 48
            f22 is already so old that even f 35 is a more serious machine compared to the breakdown of the pen in the 5th generation. perhaps there will be a modernization of f22 if the pentagon wants to sip a couple of three lard. But I think that they’ll simply beat him and do it right f 35 now, and it’s being manufactured and refined - that is, the car is in operation and it will improve and f 22 is a good 5th generation airplane in the past.
      2. +2
        8 June 2018 21: 22
        If the "Japanese version" is implemented, then the F-22 will get a second life. With the money of Japan and for Japan in the first place, Lockheed agrees to resume production of the F-22. Glider F-22, filling from the F-35.
  2. +1
    8 June 2018 11: 25
    Let them take up the creation of an unmanned fighter, utopian ideas will help them
  3. +2
    8 June 2018 14: 46
    The arguments of an unknown freelancer about the possibilities of European aircraft construction are not worth a damn. Such articles can somehow be understood in the "Opinions" section, but here ...
    1. +2
      8 June 2018 21: 13
      I’ll add that the creation of my (European) fifth generation fighter is not only prestige or a tribute to fashion, but also the food for the work of a huge number of research institutes and subsequently manufacturing companies (and not only directly involved in this topic).
      In general, a pretty powerful engine of progress.
    2. 0
      10 June 2018 23: 41
      I believe that any criticism should have at least a drop of meaningfulness. Anyone can pour groundless accusations.
  4. 0
    8 June 2018 16: 14
    Until Europe can work out its own development vector, independent of the United States, it’s generally difficult to talk about such ambitious projects. In the extreme case, the Americans will try to drive a wedge into an agreement between the French and the Germans, but so far even they do not need it. Lockheed Martin feels quite confident in the global aircraft market. And every year Europe can offer less and less.

    Case for small. It remains to wait about 22 of the year, and only then it will be possible to say something definite, and guessing on the coffee grounds can endlessly.
  5. +2
    8 June 2018 18: 42
    To illustrate the article. English drone Taranis:

    The British recently, even before leaving the European Union, separated from Europe in military projects. And they are much more willing to cooperate with Israel. But they do not have serious funding for these programs.
  6. +2
    8 June 2018 18: 44
    And here is a German drone.
    1. +2
      10 June 2018 11: 14
      voyaka uh
      "And here is the German drone."
      How two drops look like
      1. 0
        14 June 2018 08: 44
        Because it is completely logical, a teardrop-shaped subsonic without taking into account the absence of the need for a cockpit, divorced keels and an engine closed by massive lobeshnik to reduce EPR.
    2. -1
      14 June 2018 21: 55
      This is actually the American Global Hawk drone but created in cooperation with Germany and called the RQ-4E Euro Hawk. The fact that the Germans organized a screwdriver assembly of 5 cars in Germany for 500 cartoons does not make this drone German.
  7. 0
    14 June 2018 08: 42
    EMNIP Germans with the French have never once shared. We did not agree on the development of weapons.

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