PARIS (Reuters) – With the ink barely dry on a deal between France and Germany to develop a new combat jet, Airbus and Dassault are squaring up for leadership of a project that could reshape Europe’s fragmented fighter industry.
French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel unveiled the plans at a summit in July, burying past defense industry rivalries as part of efforts to tighten co-operation as Britain withdraws from the European Union.
Combat - System - Mixture - Aircraft - Rafale
The new combat system could involve a mixture of manned and unmanned aircraft and would eventually replace the Rafale and Eurofighter, rival jets that compete fiercely for global sales, as well as the older Panavia Tornado.
That sets the tone for co-operation between Airbus, which represents Germany and Spain in the Eurofighter consortium, and Dassault Aviation, the manufacturer of France’s Rafale.
Discussion - Shape - Project - Alone - Lead
But there has been little formal discussion yet over the shape of the project, let alone who would take the lead in development, according to industry and defense officials.
Airbus, whose mostly Germany-based defense arm makes up about a quarter of its sales, laid claim to the leading role in an op-ed article published on Friday.
Assumption - Place - Airbus - Cooperation - Partners
“On the assumption that the necessary political will is in place, Airbus is offering to drive cooperation with its European partners and to shape this aspect of our common European future,” Dirk Hoke, chief executive of Airbus Defense & Space, wrote in Germany-based defense newsletter Griephan Briefe.
He described his company as “the lead…for a project of this nature.”
Airbus - Call - Project - Germany - US
Airbus’s call also appeared aimed at speeding up the project as Germany looks to U.S. rivals to meet...
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