Future Combat Air System (FCAS)

flateric

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http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/in-focus-bae-strenghtens-unmanned-systems-activities-373318/


"At Farnborough we will also look for a positive indication from the governments that they are willing to allow BAE, Dassault and engine suppliers [Rolls-Royce and Snecma] to work on an 18-month FCAS demonstrator preparation programme," Fillingham says. This will draw on the companies' respective experiences with the Taranis and Neuron air vehicles, both of which are expected to make their flight debuts within the coming months.
A scale model of a conceptual future strike aircraft will be on display outside BAE's exhibit at the show, but Fillingham stresses that this "is not the designed vehicle" for any Anglo-French programme. The company also does not rule out the possibility of manned systems being considered as a part of such studies.
photo by Marina Lystceva


(someone needs to buy pants one size more next time)
 

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flateric

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BAE Plans for UAV Fanfare Fizzle Out


FARNBOROUGH AIR SHOW » JULY 11, 2012
by CHRIS POCOCK




July 10, 2012, 4:50 PM
BAE Systems canceled a briefing here yesterday on Anglo-French collaboration for the next generation of UAVs. The company had hoped that ministers from both countries would be ready to announce joint funding for further studies of medium altitude long endurance (MALE) UAVs and a future combat air system (FCAS).


In briefings last month, BAE officials expressed guarded optimism that the deals could be struck. They still hope for approval of the studies this month. But the recent change of government in France has slowed the process, and may even have confused it. New French defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has said that the German and Italian aerospace industries might become partners in joint European UAV development. The British government, on the other hand, is on record as preferring bilateral cooperation only.


More immediately, Le Drian is due to announce this week whether France will stick to a plan to procure the Voltiger MALE system that was outlined by the previous government. Intended as an interim solution to an urgent requirement to support French troops in Afghanistan, the system was proposed by Dassault and based on the IAI Heron TP platform. But no contract was signed, and French troops are leaving Afghanistan later this year. Various alternatives have been suggested, including an upgrade to France’s existing Harfang MALE system based on the smaller IAI Heron, or even a buy of Reaper UAVs from the U.S.


The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) already operates Reaper UAVs in Afghanistan. These were acquired under an urgent operational requirement (UOR) and are not funded from the core defense budget. They are supposed to be withdrawn in 2015 after most British troops leave Afghanistan.


The RAF has been pleased with the Reapers in operation, but has raised concerns over the lack of operational sovereignty. However, two recent developments have allayed some of those concerns. The RAF Reaper ground station has been relocated from the U.S. to the UK, and the U.S. has conceded that non-American payloads can be integrated on the Predator/Reaper via a new open architecture. If the UK were to take Reaper into the core defense budget and prolong its service life, the case for speedy development of the proposed Anglo-French Telemos MALE could be undermined.


http://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/2012-07-10/bae-plans-uav-fanfare-fizzle-out
 

mrmalaya

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A brand new and very detailed article highlighting how serious the participants of the Anglo/French FCAS UCAV programme are:

http://www.defenceiq.com/air-forces-and-military-aircraft/articles/bae-s-taranis-completes-phase-3-of-flight-tests/


"What BAE Systems engineers learn from the Taranis can ultimately be expected to contribute to the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) programme, the goal of which will be an armed drone, jointly developed, produced, and utilised by the RAF and French Air Force. Closer defence co-operation between the UK and French governments was provisionally marked with signing the Lancaster House Treaty in November 2010, and the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) recommitting Britain to continue its partnership with France on the FCAS.
Interestingly, both countries continue to work on their own stealth UCAS programmes, with the experiences gained from the Dassault nEUROn likely to contribute to the FCAS as much as the Taranis will.
The FCAS is currently in the middle of its two-year Feasibility Phase (FP), which began in November 2014 with the two governments awarding £120 million to six partner companies: Dassault, Safran and Thales in France, and BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, and Selex ES in the United Kingdom.
Goals of the FP include the maturation of operational UCAS concepts, the development of key UCAS technologies, the evolution of simulation capabilities, and the formation of a programme vision – including a proposal for the first phase of a demonstrator programme, ultimately bringing the accomplishments and experience of all six companies together."
 

mrmalaya

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A tantalising glimpse of a new piece from AW about the FCAS UCAV work and the progress being made:

http://aviationweek.com/defense/anglo-french-ucav-study-begins-take-shape

I don't have a subscription but would welcome a précis from anyone who does.

The subtitle reads: British-French UCAV could fly as wingman to manned fighters
 

mrmalaya

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Ok, so here is the link to the full article now:

http://aviationweek.com/defense/anglo-french-ucav-study-begins-take-shape

According to the article it is not clear whether 2017 will see a move to a demonstrator or something representative of an operational aircraft.

It also suggests an aircraft as long as Typhoon with longer wingspan and two engines, but more details will be due in a few months.

I found this quote interesting:

"The FCAS team has taken lessons from both the British Taranis program and the joint European Neuron, led by France. Rowe-Willcocks says that even though both platforms are powered by the same Rolls-Royce Adour engine, the integration of the engine into the platform is “very different.” In addition, while the French chose to incorporate weapon delivery into Neuron, BAE Systems chose to insert what it calls a “high level of automation and survivability technologies.”

Which suggests to me that Taranis is stealthier and smarter than Neuron.
 

mrmalaya

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Confirmation is due soon but the Uk and France are today signing up to a $2billion dollar UCAV project under the FCAS banner with a flying prototype as the next stage:

http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-france-drones-idUKKCN0W51HM
 

mrmalaya

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So Britain and France are each contributing £750million to the FCAS UCAV

The programme begins next year with a "Technical review" in 2020 - this is in line with the next SDSR in the UK.

Prototype (or operational demonstrator) to fly in 2025 and service scheduled for after 2030.

http://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/defense/2016-03-03/britain-france-jointly-develop-future-combat-air-system

Other articles suggest it is to clear a path for manned assets, but I haven't seen that stated officially.

But one prototype or multiple, and is there to be a different aircraft either side of the Channel?
 

Deltafan

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In November 2014, the first "results" (drawings ? 3D ? Others ?) for the first stage of the project were foreseen for the end of the year 2016.

Wait and see... :-\
 

Grey Havoc

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In other words, it's likely dead on arrival.
 

mrmalaya

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I don't see that.

Where is the issue?

They have just set out $2 billion of expenditure and its dead on arrival?
 

red admiral

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mrmalaya said:
They have just set out $2 billion of expenditure and its dead on arrival?
Indeed. That is some serious money being spent. More than double that spent on X-47B. Will be interesting to compare with CBARS/RAQ-25 when more detail is available.
 

Grey Havoc

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red admiral said:
mrmalaya said:
They have just set out $2 billion of expenditure and its dead on arrival?
Indeed. That is some serious money being spent. More than double that spent on X-47B. Will be interesting to compare with CBARS/RAQ-25 when more detail is available.
The problem is, not only is the deal implicitly contingent on there being no 'Brexit', but also neither Britain nor France have actually allocated any funding or other resources for the program, nor are likely to do so in the near future due to budget pressures and other priorities. Basically the deal is a glorified (and incomplete) Memorandum Of Understanding at best, superseding the long lapsed Item 16 bi-MALE outline from 2010 (part of the UK–France Summit 2010 Declaration on Defence and Security Co-operation). The respective governments may try to get their erstwhile industrial partners to cover the gap, but the odds of them actually succeeding in this (with the possible exception of Thales, though even that is a bit doubtful) are not good, especially given that the 2014 FCAS study appears to have been something of a dead end/industrial embarrassment.
 

mrmalaya

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I don't understand ? You are well enough read to be able to see this programme has pedigree. Is this more about Britain and the EU for you?

Do you expect to see the results of the 2014 phase of the programme even though it was a two year deal?

As far as I can see FCAS is running to schedule and just had a massive boost in funding and support, so how is it you think the whole thing is a sham?

I don't understand where this reaction is coming from and can only assume its some anti-european thing (which is not relevant in my view).

From an aerospace point of view I think its a very important development and whilst it is yet to yield results, more than one government on both sides of the Channel have backed the project, so in my view FCAS is very much alive.
 

red admiral

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Grey Havoc said:
We'll agree to disagree then.
They've just allocated $2bn if you read the statements, which follows on from the initial study started in 2014. This is programme start for prototype aircraft rather than a dying whimper.
 

flateric

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a10N1KMOZlY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHANvDhqrao

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KFpxzJPgJo
 

mrmalaya

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Thanks for the context flateric.

I find it interesting though that all the publicity around FCAS is generated by the French side and BAE are either rubbish at PR or don't want to talk.

It's this aspect alone that makes me wonder whether we will see one prototype from Britain and one from France sharing engines and sensors but with the airframe remaining sovereign.

Time will tell.
 

flateric

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cranked kite planform is not something unknown for BAe
FOAS concepts mix, 2004
 

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mrmalaya

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In recent times the only designs that BAE have produced are one which looks like the X45A and Taranis.

I find the X47B lookalike from Dassault and X45A lookalike from BAE a bit fishy and more likely to be placeholders than representative of genuine designs.

But I could be wrong.
 

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mrmalaya

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Oh good, it wouldn't be the first time ;D

When the time is right I look forward to further illumination then.
 

mrmalaya

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More evidence that the French like their 2014 design enough to release it into the public domain:

http://www.asds-media.com/videos/fcas-studies-m1190

BAE have yet to release an image of their 2014 vintage X45A lookalike other than as the model/artwork used during the ceremony.

The French have used this type of planform before 2014, so perhaps that is why they are comfortable with it?
 

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shedofdread

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Considering the classification of some of the work done / being done, I'd infer nothing [at this time] from that which is publicly available.
 

mrmalaya

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Agreed. This plus the fact the new phase has yet to begin and by definition will differ significantly from anything studied in the past 10 years.
 

Deltafan

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mrmalaya said:
More evidence that the French like their 2014 design enough to release it into the public domain:
http://www.asds-media.com/videos/fcas-studies-m1190
Interesting.

Thanks for the sharing MrMalaya.
 

mrmalaya

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France has ordered a new round of tests for neuron as the two countries move towards the FCAS demonstrator phase for next year:

http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Security-Industry/2016/05/18/New-flight-test-campaign-for-nEUROn-combat-drone/5481463577875/

"France has announced a new round of flight tests for the nEUROn unmanned combat aerial vehicle to study the use of the drone in a naval context....

The tests will include sea trials from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier and will be followed by an electromagnetic signature measurement series of tests early next year."
 

Deltafan

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Thanks again for the sharing Mrmalaya :)

The tests will include sea trials from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier
Is the Neuron able to take off from a carrier ? :eek:

Or there will be "only" "almost touch and go" tests, as for the Rafale A with the carrier Clémenceau (30 April 1987, with the Rafale seven times 50cm above the deck) ? ???
 

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Well, i got the answer on a french website. The Neuron will take off and land on earth, but it will fly above the ships of the fleet.
 

mrmalaya

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Yes I understand from Janes that they are using the carrier groups sensors against neuron. I guess they are filling time before the next phase kicks off.
 

Deltafan

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Neuron UCAV flies at public air show

http://www.aerosociety.com/News/Society-News/4436/Neuron-UCAV-flies-at-public-air-show
 

Deltafan

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Neuron works with french Navy



http://www.opex360.com/2016/07/08/le-drone-de-combat-neuron-effectue-ses-premiers-essais-avec-le-porte-avions-charles-de-gaulle/
 

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FCAS set to deliver national variants

The Anglo/French Future Combat Air Systems (FCAS) programme will likely see two variants of a base aircraft developed and delivered - one to each partner.
http://www.janes.com/article/62191/farnborough-2016-fcas-set-to-deliver-national-variants
 

mrmalaya

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I wonder if anyone is thinking of naval operations? The French cant really have been flyin neuron over the carrier group just to test their radars.

In addition it is becoming pretty clear both partners (and the Germans for that matter) are going to use this UCAV as an extension of the manned fleet.
 

flateric

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FCAS now is known as Future Programmes and Services (FP&S)

http://www.scaf.org.uk/library/prespaper/2016_06/Estimating%20Fiction-Gareth%20Johnson,%20BAE%20Systems.pdf
 
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