Spanish industry has signed the initial framework contract of the Future Combat Air System’s (FCAS) demonstrator phase, confirming Airbus as the lead in Spain for the New Generation Fighter (NGF) and prime contractor in the Low Observability domain of the European defence program.
This contract, signed with French and German industry partners, completes Spain’s onboarding as an equal nation across all FCAS activities. The signature closes a 10-month process of onboarding Spain as the third nation.
Airbus, which has been dedicated over the last year to support this integration of Spain, welcomes this step and takes on a primary role at the heart of Spain’s participation in FCAS, working directly with European partners and wider industry in support of Spain’s contribution to the program.
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 programs.”
The contract covers initial work on developing the program demonstrators and maturing cutting-edge technologies, with the ambition to begin the NGF demo flight tests in the second half of 2026.
The launch of the Demonstrator Phase underlines the political confidence and determination of the FCAS partner nations and associated industry to move forward and co-operate 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 airpower and represents the future of Spain’s aerospace and defence industry. Airbus will play a major role working closely with, and helping to develop, Spain’s industrial and technology capabilities.
FCAS is expected to enter into service by 2040 and has been designed to be more than a combat aircraft. The FCAS is expected to serve as part of a system of systems, consolidating an array of interconnected and interoperable elements, including unmanned medium altitude, long endurance (MALE) drones, the existing fleet of Eurofighter and Rafale fighter aircraft, cruise missiles and drone swarms.
The FCAS system will serve as a critical component of a connected and interoperable system with a vast perimeter of specialist mission aircraft, satellites, NATO systems and a distributed network of land and naval combat systems.
FCAS is designed to assure European autonomy in the air and space domain, while enhancing existing political, strategic and industrial partnerships in Europe.
Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services. In 2018, it generated revenues of €64 billion and employed a workforce of around 134,000. Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of passenger airliners.