Friday

21st Sep 2018

EU states eye production of new fighter jet

  • Airbus is preparing to make a new fighter jet as the EU rolls out its defence integration project. (Photo: Air Combat Command)

Airbus, the French-based firm, is preparing to make a new fighter jet as the EU rolls out its defence integration project.

Fernando Alonso, the head of the firm’s military branch, told Handelsblatt, a German newspaper, that Germany and Spain have already signed up for the project and that he hoped France would also come on board.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • New weapons system to help create EU defence sovereignty. (Photo: Defence Images)

“We are working on various building blocks in Germany and Spain, some of the financing comes from the governments, we hope for more," he said.

“We hope that France will also participate, because we have to work together in Europe, there is no more space for two or three different systems”, he added.

Referring to EU defence integration, he said: “The time is ripe for making and implementing a decision in Europe”.

The Airbus project is to be called the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) and is to replace the Eurofighter and Tornado fighter jet models in Germany as well as the F18 in Spain.

If France joined, it might also replace the French fighter jet, the Rafale, when that becomes obsolete in 2030, Handelsblatt said.

Another option would be to buy F35 fighter jets from the US.

But that would be seen as an untimely gift for US leader Donald Trump, who has belittled and confused EU allies since coming to power.

Investing in US fighter jets would also go against the EU’s stated aim to achieve technological and strategic “sovereignty” as part of its new defence plan, which includes a €1.5-billion a year R&D and joint procurement fund designed to stimulate projects such as the FCAS.

Brexit implications

Trump aside, the Airbus project comes as the UK, the EU’s main military power, prepares to start exit talks.

Airbus currently employs 10,000 people at two manufacturing plants in the UK.

But its chief operating officer, Fabrice Bregier, told the Sunday Times, a British newspaper, that unless the UK negotiates an amicable deal with the EU then it will move those plants elsewhere.

He said the Brexit deal must allow its staff freedom of movement to come and work in the UK and must allow it to ship parts free from punitive tariffs.

"For new productions, it's very easy to have a new plant somewhere in the world. We would have plenty of offers to do that," he said.

"We want to stay in the UK - provided the conditions to work in an integrated organisation are met”, he added.

Correction: The article now says Spain aims to replace its F18 jet, not F16, as previously reported.

EU to spend €1.5bn a year on joint defence

The Commission has offered to put aside €1.5 billion a year for joint defence spending in what could be the first step toward the creation of an EU army.

Airbus calls for end of legal battles with Boeing

The EU aircraft maker wants Europe and the US to agree on their subsidy policies for Airbus and Boeing after the WTO ruled that both companies benefited from illegal tax breaks.

Security and defence to top EU summit

Pressure is mounting for social media platforms to remove any online content deemed to incite terrorism. Draft conclusions, seen by EUobserver, have made the issue a top priority in leaders' talks next week.

Airbnb agrees to clarify pricing for EU

The justice commissioner says the accommodation-rental website will better inform users about prices, and about the legal status of their 'hosts'. Facebook, however, could face sanctions if it doesn't comply with EU rules.

Airbnb agrees to clarify pricing for EU

The justice commissioner says the accommodation-rental website will better inform users about prices, and about the legal status of their 'hosts'. Facebook, however, could face sanctions if it doesn't comply with EU rules.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  5. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  6. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  7. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  8. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  9. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  10. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  11. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow

Latest News

  1. Brexit and MEPs expenses in the spotlight This WEEK
  2. Wake-up call on European Day Against Islamophobia
  3. Sound of discord at 'Sound of Music' Salzburg summit
  4. Salzburg summit presses for bigger Frontex mandate
  5. UK's post-Brexit plan 'will not work', EU says
  6. Airbnb agrees to clarify pricing for EU
  7. Libya keeps coast guards rejected by the EU
  8. EU divisions on menu at Salzburg dinner

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us