What if, France never left the Eurofighter consortium

helmutkohl

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So we know some time in the early 80s, France split with the UK, West Germany, Italy and Spain, and developed the ACX into the Rafale, and the others made the Typhoon.

the disagreement stemmed from a carrier variant.

What if in this scenario, France never left and somehow the five of them managed to develop something together.

so the question would be
- How could the consortium meet the needs of all the members including France?
- How would the end product look like had France stayed? would it still look like a Eurofighter? like a Rafale? something else?
- IRC, France wanted a Naval part, and the UK wanted STVOL (although in the end they didnt get that). Could the consortium have pushed for some STVOL (maybe p1216?) and urge France to go STOVL carriers instead?
or UK just end up ditching STVOL, settle for Harrier (like they did), and still have the Eurofighter designed for catobar operations to appease the French?
- how would it affect future developments in Europe? and exports?
 

Archibald

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It was more than the naval variant... SNECMA M88 clashed head-on with RR EJ200.
And SNECMA was a public company hence the French government was involved and politics made this quite ugly.

Naval variant, SNECMA and Dassault well-known independance (reinforced by his negative feelings related to the Jaguar - after he bought Breguet in 1971) were huge roadblocks.

I have a thread somewhere in this section, trying to work around these major issues.

SNECMA stuck with the Atar for waaaay too long, scored a mixed success first with TF10/30 under licence that led to the M53 "leaky turbojet", also a mixed bag.
So it was still lagging behind in the 70's. They scored a major victory when they snatched the F101 core via the CFM56 civilian turbojet, and from there worked on the M69 that soon become the M88.

RR EJ200 had a long and rich ancestry of small and efficient military turbofans, all the way from RB.153, RB.172 and RB.199.

These two clashed headon.
 

helmutkohl

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It was more than the naval variant... SNECMA M88 clashed head-on with RR EJ200.
And SNECMA was a public company hence the French government was involved and politics made this quite ugly.

Naval variant, SNECMA and Dassault well-known independance (reinforced by his negative feelings related to the Jaguar - after he bought Breguet in 1971) were huge roadblocks.

I have a thread somewhere in this section, trying to work around these major issues.

SNECMA stuck with the Atar for waaaay too long, scored a mixed success first with TF10/30 under licence that led to the M53 "leaky turbojet", also a mixed bag.
So it was still lagging behind in the 70's. They scored a major victory when they snatched the F101 core via the CFM56 civilian turbojet, and from there worked on the M69 that soon become the M88.

RR EJ200 had a long and rich ancestry of small and efficient military turbofans, all the way from RB.153, RB.172 and RB.199.

These two clashed headon.
was it not possible just to agree on a two engine solution. one group stays with the RRs, the other with Snecma
similar to how the F-4s had British RR engines and American options?
 

Archibald

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I don't think it would be possible, unfortunately. The British pushed for RR, the French for SNECMA, politically it was Mitterrand vs Maggie (I dislike both !) polar opposites.

I think something would have to be done with the Mirage 2000 and M53 to keep SNECMA busy elsewhere.
 

alertken

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Arch: thanks for the cross-channel input which Brit-centrics need.

France leaving MRCA let UK in, so Thanks be to the Lord. But France leaving (to be EF) was more than a shame, closer to a catastrophe. Despite a decade of politicians' attempts to shot-gun Dassault+BAES into many-named Future-things, we appear now again to have failed, and are on the verge of duplication, FRG+France, UK+Italy in Team Tempest with whoever. This is a gross failure of Statecraft. Sole beneficiaries will be whoever might emerge in the sights of these mid-century assets. By wasting industrial resources on minor peculiars preventing commonality, we deny ourselves scale economies and the opportunity-work not being done by the duplicate team - for example effort in the cyber field where others are eroding our sovereignty.

We should close out "fault" on Rafale+Typhoon (+Gripen); we should learn that our neighbours must be our friends; we should talk till exhausted, to come up with a max-common solution. What McNamara tried to do with F-111A+B, succeeded with F-4s. Compromise: the good enough. Assign Centres of Excellence, so that small industries can hold up their heads in the Team: so: I do engine, you do Missile A, he does Missile B. Italy flourished thus on Tornado, Spain on EF.

(Can anyone produce a military reason for Qatar to buy Rafale+Typhoon?)
 

Mirage4000

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So we know some time in the early 80s, France split with the UK, West Germany, Italy and Spain, and developed the ACX into the Rafale, and the others made the Typhoon.

the disagreement stemmed from a carrier variant.

What if in this scenario, France never left and somehow the five of them managed to develop something together.

so the question would be
- How could the consortium meet the needs of all the members including France?
- How would the end product look like had France stayed? would it still look like a Eurofighter? like a Rafale? something else?
- IRC, France wanted a Naval part, and the UK wanted STVOL (although in the end they didnt get that). Could the consortium have pushed for some STVOL (maybe p1216?) and urge France to go STOVL carriers instead?
or UK just end up ditching STVOL, settle for Harrier (like they did), and still have the Eurofighter designed for catobar operations to appease the French?
- how would it affect future developments in Europe? and exports?
It was possible but politics and money are the problems but it is good the French went for Rafale such a beautiful aircraft, perhaps the most beautiful aircraft since 1986
 

Archibald

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I think we need a POD before 1983 - in the 1976-1982 era, related to TKF-90, Mirage 3000, ECA/ ECF studies.

ECA was Germany going to Britain, with France joining later and ECF was born, this happening in 1977-1979 with TKF-90 in the background.
A first major crisis happened in 1981 when ECF imploded in a way very similar to Rafale / Typhoon in 1985.

When ECF imploded, France and Great Britain went their own ways and by 1983 when talks resumed it was too late: EAP and ACX mockups and future demonstrators were already under way.

In a sense, ECF imploding into EAP and ACX led to the Rafale / Typhoon split by 1985. Note that Spain nearly went with France on the Rafale bandwagon.

The only way to keep ECA / ECF into a single piece is to start as early as possible for Dassault and most importantly SNECMA to be busy with the Mirage 2000 (first flight MArch 10, 1978, IOC 1984), which also drains Armée de l'air short-term funding. This could eventually force the French to cooperate, perhaps changing the course of ECA / ECF, related to the TKF-90 and its RB.199s.
Same for the RAF by 1976-78 with the Tornado ADV.

OTL Germany went to GB first, in 1977, rather than to France. Whatif France outran GB and went to the Germans first with the British joining only later ? Whatif France and Germany found that a subscale Mirage 4000 really looked like a TKF-90 ?

That's why after pondering about a "no Rafale / Typhoon split" scenario for a long time, I'm convinced that something must happen in the ECA / ECF era and essentially bring together
- Mirage 4000 or scaled down variant
- Tornado ADV and its engines (improved RB.199 encompassing SNECMA)
- TKF-90 (as a basic shape leading to Typhoon and Rafale)

Some kind of scaled down Mirage 4000 with RB.199s as a compromise.
 
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zen

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Frankly I'm starting to think a compromise was possible between the British and French and Italians.....
But once you factor in German needs for workshare.....
It all gets messy.

Briefly the French ACF was looked at as an alternative to the ADV Tornado. The main issue being the lack of space for the Foxhunter Radar.....if it could be fitted somehow....?

And if we spool back to the AFVG, we have Bristol/SNECMA M45 engine. While RR have teamed up with MTU on the RB.153.

That's why the RB.172 emerges, as a UK only engine and it's this which is scaled down to produce the Adour used in Jaguars and Hawks.

So hypothetically a full-scale version of RB.172 might form the basis of future work with SNECMA if RR is still being favoured or a more extreme AH has Bristol survive and continue it's relationship with SNECMA. Either way a turbofan good enough for ACF and future aircraft like the ECF could emerge.

As an aside if Bristol survives will they be the ones to carry what we know as the RB.211 three shaft engine effort?

Another path forward is the MN's AN getting the PA.75 with Sea Harrier.
A French order for SHar relieves French AF requirements of the need to accommodate the Aeronavale's needs.
This might tie up nicely with RN Exocets, and Invincibles. Perhaps with Magic instead of Sidewinders?
That would imply the likes of P.1216 as the successor, with MICA AAMs.?

Though if PA.75 goes ahead does this influence the UK and see the RN switch to CVL-N?
 

helmutkohl

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^ thats a pretty well written out plan on how they could have balanced each others needs

i do like the idea of Harriers on French ships as a compromise
Desktop_Screenshot_2017.12.20_-_19.50.19.381low.jpg
 

isayyo2

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(Can anyone produce a military reason for Qatar to buy Rafale+Typhoon?)
A lot of FU gas money they've been sitting on? But more likely its to curry favor with the EU and USA in light of their "blockade" which I think just ended.
 

Archibald

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^ thats a pretty well written out plan on how they could have balanced each others needs

i do like the idea of Harriers on French ships as a compromise
Desktop_Screenshot_2017.12.20_-_19.50.19.381low.jpg
Harrier was tested on french decks circa 1971: Foch and Jeanne d'arc.
 

Archibald

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Briefly the French ACF was looked at as an alternative to the ADV Tornado. The main issue being the lack of space for the Foxhunter Radar.....if it could be fitted somehow....?

Now that's interesting. ACF was pretty large and a two seater was planned so ADV may be possible. That must have been before 1975 when it was canned.
 

zen

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Timing could be quite interesting here on ACF.
I wonder if there is an RR engine alternative to M53....?

That said Super 530 with Skyflash type seeker.....
 

Archibald

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Spey imediately comes to mind as pretty close from the M53 (except worse at high altitude.)
 

Trident

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Compromise: the good enough. Assign Centres of Excellence, so that small industries can hold up their heads in the Team: so: I do engine, you do Missile A, he does Missile B.

This.

The vexing thing is that industry skills in Europe, are to a greater extent than not, very complementary. France excels in airframe conceptual design, Britain in all aspects of engine design (particularly conceptual), Germany in subsystem and manufacturing engineering, Italy in certain aspects of electronics (EW). Other avionics (radar, FCS, navigation etc.) can be handled by the UK and France respectively, with contributions from Germany and Spain. Same with subsets of the engine and airframe.

I regularly despair at politics managing to ruin what should be a no-brainer. It seems to have an uncanny knack for discovering and amplifying out of all proportion the isolated pieces of dissent in a vast expanse of common ground. There is some overlap in competencies, of course, but nothing that should be irreconcilable with a bit of bartering and juggling in theory.

As far as I can tell the Meteor AAM is an example where things worked much better, and the workshare distribution between Safran, MTU & ITP on the FCAS engine also strikes me as inspired. Even the fact that overall project leadership was ceded to France without much grudging was encouraging, and I this regard I'm starting to think that recent German MoD hit piece report is a good thing. If that's simply indicative of the Germans feeling they have too little input into the conceptual design, so much the better! The essential fact is: France does this better, at least for fighter aircraft (a non-nuclear submarine, armoured vehicle or gun might be a different story, but we digress). German engineering is peerless at solving a given problem - but please let others define that problem!

Frankly I'm starting to think a compromise was possible between the British and French and Italians.....
But once you factor in German needs for workshare.....
It all gets messy.

Not necessarily. As I say above, keep German politics and industry away from defining the scope and concept, let them sort out the manifold tough detail engineering challenges that they excel at. For EFA, this would have meant Britain leads the engine (which would turn out to be a lot like EJ200, but with French turbines), France leads the airframe (think Rafale A), the others contribute certain detailed aspects. Hopefully the airframe/engine split leadership would avoid the kind of Franco-British clash that led them to part ways in reality.
 

zen

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Spey imediately comes to mind as pretty close from the M53 (except worse at high altitude.)
But worse for diameter. That's why a RB.172 variant seems more logical.
There was a turbofan for the twin engined Viggen I seem to recall.
 

Archibald

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Well the Jaguar's Adour was very much a subscale RB.172 by Turboméca (not SNECMA) so that would make some sense.
In France it was known as the M45.
In fact when the TF306E was dropped (1969) the M53 was started from zero to replace it... when the M45 already existed and had no role except going civilian for a small German airliner.

While the M45 lacked thrust, one can wonder if it would had not be a better long term bargain for SNECMA. Thrust wise it wasn't worse than the old Atar (6 mt tons thrust) yet immensely smaller, lighter, and the SFC was much lower, too.

I wish Dassault would have flown a Mirage V with that engine. Plus it would have screwed the Jaguar even more.

I once toyed with a twin M45 Mirage IV starting late 1968 when the 62 and last rolled out of Mérignac production line: range could have been 40% better.
 

zen

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Compromise: the good enough. Assign Centres of Excellence, so that small industries can hold up their heads in the Team: so: I do engine, you do Missile A, he does Missile B.

This.

The vexing thing is that industry skills in Europe, are to a greater extent than not, very complementary. France excels in airframe conceptual design, Britain in all aspects of engine design (particularly conceptual), Germany in subsystem and manufacturing engineering, Italy in certain aspects of electronics (EW). Other avionics (radar, FCS, navigation etc.) can be handled by the UK and France respectively, with contributions from Germany and Spain. Same with subsets of the engine and airframe.

I regularly despair at politics managing to ruin what should be a no-brainer. It seems to have an uncanny knack for discovering and amplifying out of all proportion the isolated pieces of dissent in a vast expanse of common ground. There is some overlap in competencies, of course, but nothing that should be irreconcilable with a bit of bartering and juggling in theory.

As far as I can tell the Meteor AAM is an example where things worked much better, and the workshare distribution between Safran, MTU & ITP on the FCAS engine also strikes me as inspired. Even the fact that overall project leadership was ceded to France without much grudging was encouraging, and I this regard I'm starting to think that recent German MoD hit piece report is a good thing. If that's simply indicative of the Germans feeling they have too little input into the conceptual design, so much the better! The essential fact is: France does this better, at least for fighter aircraft (a non-nuclear submarine, armoured vehicle or gun might be a different story, but we digress). German engineering is peerless at solving a given problem - but please let others define that problem!

Frankly I'm starting to think a compromise was possible between the British and French and Italians.....
But once you factor in German needs for workshare.....
It all gets messy.

Not necessarily. As I say above, keep German politics and industry away from defining the scope and concept, let them sort out the manifold tough detail engineering challenges that they excel at. For EFA, this would have meant Britain leads the engine (which would turn out to be a lot like EJ200, but with French turbines), France leads the airframe (think Rafale A), the others contribute certain detailed aspects. Hopefully the airframe/engine split leadership would avoid the kind of Franco-British clash that led them to part ways in reality.

In aircraft concept it's probably a tie up between the UK and France.
Similarly with radar.
Just don't let the Germans do software.
 

DWG

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Getting a successful design out of Eurofighter with France still involved would be proof that eierlegende Wollmilchsau (egg laying, woolly, milk producing pigs) can still fly even when tied up in the Tricoleur.

IIRC the French demands were: an 8.5tonne rather than 9.5tonne design, M88, and Dassault design leadership. Accommodating that gets you Rafale, and (probably) the other countries involved walking away and buying F-18.

I think the real sticking point of those three is probably Dassault, and the willingness of the rest of European industry to work XwithX for them. The others could be accomodated in a national/CV variant.
 

Trident

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In aircraft concept it's probably a tie up between the UK and France.
Similarly with radar.
Just don't let the Germans do software.

Yes, they are close in that regard, but I'd give the edge to France for a more canny understanding of export markets.

Radar is definitely one of those areas with substantial overlap (and don't sell Italy short!), I'd call that a draw, too. Still, with most of the mosaic pieces fitting together quite neatly, some kind of accommodation should be possible on the few remaining points.

You can let Germans do software no problem at all - just don't let them define it, yet again!

IIRC the French demands were: an 8.5tonne rather than 9.5tonne design, M88, and Dassault design leadership. Accommodating that gets you Rafale, and (probably) the other countries involved walking away and buying F-18.

That France by these demands contributed to the split is not up for debate - the nature of compromise would have required them to give in a lot too. M88 and the OEW cap would have to go, for sure.
 

Archibald

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an 8.5tonne rather than 9.5tonne design,

I heard that the Europeans expressly made Eurofighter design heavier and heavier to screw M88.

Both sides were pigs, really. RR was no better than Dassault, as for the Germans... watch what happened after 1989 when they tried to screw EFA into a castrated single engine type (or buy F-18s)
 

uk 75

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We have a number of these threads about changing the consortia that built key European combat aircraft. They all have common factors which run through each thread.
France is the only nation after 1965 able and willing to go it alone and let Dassault meets its needs.
The UK arguably has the strongest aerospace industry but its woeful economy and overreach of military commitments forces a search for European partners or US designs at the lowest price it can get.
Germany has the most successful economy. It prefers US designs from F104 thru F4 to F18. But its European and industrial ambitions drive it into programmes like MRCA and PAH Tiger.
Italy has the weakest economy and most confused politics but its aerospace industry is imaginative and punches well above its weight from G91 to EH101.
I would add Sweden (Spain, Netherlands and Canada have little impact and take what they can get.).
Sweden builds successful combat aircraft from Draken through Viggen to Gripen. It is a natural industrial partner but its political neutrality makes combined projects very hard.
Unless you can alter the ingredients for each partner that I have tried to sum up above, it is pretty hard to come up with altetnatives to Jaguar, MRCA, Alpha Jet, Eurofighter and the Mirage/Rafale family.
Worryingly the most likely outcome is a buy from the US with F18 and F35 being the current alts.
 

zen

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Several thoughts....

UK is dogged by a tendency to change it's mind and in the prospect of more jam tomorrow or a superlative solution. Scrap the current effort. Rinse and repeat.
This makes military and industry keen to find international partners who will make that hard and politically embarrassing to do.
In the process military and industry accept a degree of sacrifice to achieve something good enough.

France is if anything dogged by the opposite problem. It's vaulting ambition is cut down to what sells abroad, at the sacrifice of desired capability.

Germany is....a special case.

Italy had too much instability, industry managed to get moving despite the politics and often because of the political flux, was left to get on with it. In turn thus made industry a stable political force inofitself.

Sweden is somewhat romanticised. Reality is often simple, tawdry even and subject to a lot of under the table help that is then not recognised publicly.

Canada overreached and made an even more dramatic change of mind than the UK.

Yugoslavia broke up, though they had prior the willpower to make things happen.
Romania needed the Yugoslavians to turn grand ideas into something real, if less ambitious.

Poland ought to have achieved much more. Even under Communism.
But they are even more their own worse enemy than Russia and Germany combined.

The Czechs have managed to thread the needle quite well here. Keep an eye on them for the future.
 

helmutkohl

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Arch: thanks for the cross-channel input which Brit-centrics need.

France leaving MRCA let UK in, so Thanks be to the Lord. But France leaving (to be EF) was more than a shame, closer to a catastrophe. Despite a decade of politicians' attempts to shot-gun Dassault+BAES into many-named Future-things, we appear now again to have failed, and are on the verge of duplication, FRG+France, UK+Italy in Team Tempest with whoever. This is a gross failure of Statecraft. Sole beneficiaries will be whoever might emerge in the sights of these mid-century assets. By wasting industrial resources on minor peculiars preventing commonality, we deny ourselves scale economies and the opportunity-work not being done by the duplicate team - for example effort in the cyber field where others are eroding our sovereignty.

We should close out "fault" on Rafale+Typhoon (+Gripen); we should learn that our neighbours must be our friends; we should talk till exhausted, to come up with a max-common solution. What McNamara tried to do with F-111A+B, succeeded with F-4s. Compromise: the good enough. Assign Centres of Excellence, so that small industries can hold up their heads in the Team: so: I do engine, you do Missile A, he does Missile B. Italy flourished thus on Tornado, Spain on EF.

(Can anyone produce a military reason for Qatar to buy Rafale+Typhoon?)
its why i half jokingly (but half seriously) say

Let the French build the fighter jets
let the British design the naval ships
let the Germans build the tanks
let the italians build the helicopters and trainers

but do not let
the french build the helicopters
the British build the jets
the Germans build the ships
and the Italians build the tanks

:p
 

Trident

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but do not let
the french build the helicopters

There have been some notable exceptions, but by and large, the French build a decent helo!

the Germans build the ships

Here again the more specific pattern I mentioned above emerges: I doubt even non-German builders would find it possible to deliver a decent warship under German MoD/Bundeswehr guidance. On the other hand, the export oriented MEKO family ranks as one of the most successful surface combatant lineages post-WWII. The secret sauce seems to be to just keep the MoD/Bundeswehr well away from writing the spec!
 

zen

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No my uncle had to work on French Helicopters occasionally and thought them a right pain. Too thin a shell making the addition of extras a very tricky proposition.

Just because it might seem neat doesn't mean it's a good idea. Different states, with different cultures have different standards and requirements.
Not all differences are wrong and making things common can mean lowering standards rather than raising them.
Differences are not wrong.
 

Archibald

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CNES and ESA legendary manager Hubert Curien, when the British presented HOTOL in 1985, joked "After making the Harrier - an aircraft that liftoff vertically - you British have made a rocket - HOTOL - that takeoff horizontally..."

It is just like Trafalgar square in London and Austerlitz railway station in Paris. Austerlitz was a major victory, so it make sense; but why name a square after such a defeat ? there is no logic in that. Makes no sense ! :p:p


 
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DWG

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Getting a successful design out of Eurofighter with France still involved would be proof that eierlegende Wollmilchsau (egg laying, woolly, milk producing pigs) can still fly even when tied up in the Tricoleur.

IIRC the French demands were: an 8.5tonne rather than 9.5tonne design, M88, and Dassault design leadership. Accommodating that gets you Rafale, and (probably) the other countries involved walking away and buying F-18.

I think the real sticking point of those three is probably Dassault, and the willingness of the rest of European industry to work XwithX for them. The others could be accomodated in a national/CV variant.

I was just re-reading the excellent article on the genesis of Eurofighter by Jon Lake in WAPJ Winter 98. It's really good on the international politics side of things and this is what it has to say about the French requirements for collaboration:

"By February 1985 there were two competing concepts, both based on the agreed twin-engined canard delta configuration, but differing in detail. Britain, Italy, Spain and Germany were happy to agree on the first, but France favoured an alternative design, closely based on its Rafale A demonstrator, and lighter and smaller than the first configuration. France demanded design and industrial leadership of any collaborative project on the basis of Dassault's experience of building delta-winged and canard delta aircraft. The French also expected all prototype construction and all flight test to be undertaken in France, and demanded 50% workshare and leadership of the Joint Industrial Group which would nominate equipment suppliers and look after all exports. France was effectively demanding that its partners should subsidise a French aircraft, optimised for French needs, in return for being allocated 'titbits' of work by Dassault. An insider remarked "One wonders what France would have demanded had it not been interested in collaboration and had it wanted to put us off the idea".
 

DWG

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- IRC, France wanted a Naval part, and the UK wanted STVOL (although in the end they didnt get that). Could the consortium have pushed for some STVOL (maybe p1216?) and urge France to go STOVL carriers instead?

Going back to this from the OP, and having just re-read Jon Lake's article on the development, the UK wanted STOL, not STOVL. We'd looked at STOVL in P110, but dropped it even before involvement in EAP. The STOL requirement was still in the Eurofighter requirement after France dropped out, but was eventually relaxed when Germany was having issues getting funding through Parliament. Even the relaxed requirement was still equal to the Jaguar's STOL performance.
 

red admiral

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An insider remarked "One wonders what France would have demanded had it not been interested in collaboration and had it wanted to put us off the idea".
And rinse and repeat for subsequent projects. To call it collaboration is a joke.

MBDA is often held up as a great example but just look at the massive duplication along national boundaries.

If you don't have sufficient industrial control for a project why not just buy better, cheaper, earlier from the US?
 
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