June 9, 2023

Taylor Daily Press

Complete News World

Tubman Dassault puts Defense Minister Dedonder in her shirt

The CEO of the French defense group Dassault, Eric Trappier, does not want to know anything about the participation of the Belgian industry in FCAS, the fighter jet project of the future. He confessed this very frankly to the French Senate.

male: The head of the French defense company Dassault revealed the Belgian Defense Minister Ludivine Didondre (PS).

  • “I don’t understand why Belgians should be given a job,” Dassault Trappier’s CEO told French senators during an hour of questions about the French programming law 2023-2030. With these words, he firmly shut the door on Belgian participation in the FCAS project.
  • Within this project, the Future Combat Air System, France, together with the Germans and Spaniards, is developing a new combat aircraft and platform for transporting unmanned aircraft.
  • It is no secret that Defense Minister Ludivine Dedondre (PS) is committed to the Belgian participation in the project. Rumors are circulating on Rue de la Loi that it will announce at the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget in mid-June that Belgium will send an observer to see what options Belgium has.

Do you want to stay up to date with the latest news about defence, espionage or war in Ukraine? Defense journalist Casper Goossens sends it straight to your inbox every week. interested? Subscribe via this link in!

FCAS or Tempest?

specific: Will Belgian companies participate in the development of FCAS?

  • The observer must see if Belgian defense companies can compete for contracts within the supply chain, as was previously the case with the F-16. For example, all Belgian versions were created by Walloon SABCA.
  • In parallel with the FCAS project, the British, along with Italy, Sweden and Japan, are working on a similar project, Tempest. Dedonder seems less interested in that.
  • Trappier’s remarks undoubtedly embarrass the minister somewhat. Obviously, the Frenchman did not forget that Belgium, under the then Defense Minister Stephen Vandeput (N-VA), chose the F-35 as the successor to the F-16, and not the French Dassault Rafale. I heard it being said that we can give work to Belgian companies. no. If I had to do it, I would fight it. Why should I make room in my factory and design office for the people who chose the F-35? ”
  • It should also be noted that just before this scenario, the French warned in 2018. “If the idea arises that it is possible to buy the F-35 and develop the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces at the same time, I must point out that this is a misunderstanding,” was the French ambassador. Claude-France Arnold clearly at that time.
See also  A quarter of Belgians believe there are too few ATMs | Instagram VTM News

Interoperability takes precedence

the situation: The project raises a lot of discussions between the ministry and the army leadership.

  • The Dedonder government is already working hard to be able to participate in the project as soon as possible. For example, a working group has already been formed under the coordination of the Royal Higher Institute of Defense. Bring the business team around the table with the major players in the industry: they must advise on the possibilities by June.
  • The fact that interest in FCAS mainly comes from a political angle was confirmed already at the end of January by Michel Hoffmann, Chief of Staff of the Belgian Army. “There are contacts at the political level with France, Spain and Germany to participate,” he said at the time.
  • The Chief of Staff himself has stated that interoperability with the F-35, the new aircraft of the Belgian aviation component, is most important. This means almost immediately entering Tempest. The British company BAE Systems is responsible for this project, and previously it also contributed to the development of the F-35. In addition, all participating countries are engaged in the purchase of F-35 aircraft, while this is not the case with the FCAS project.

the essence: Does Belgium really need a new plane?

  • Even before the arrival of the first F-35, the Dedonder government is already considering its successor. The question is is this necessary. The F-35 has a service life of 8,000 hours. With an annual flight time of 240 to 270 hours, as envisioned by the military summit, the first F-35s could continue flying until at least 2056.
  • At the same time, it should also be noted that Belgium will only have 34 F-35s. In addition, investing in a second jet, about which nothing is yet known about cooperation with the F-35, looks somewhat superfluous in this context. Because an extra plane also requires additional training for pilots and ground crew.
  • It’s whispered in the hallways that it’s a purely political issue: under the N-VA, it was decided to buy the F-35, something the current administration considers a mistake. The same air component will go on to buy an additional 14 F-35s, but this is very sensitive politically. In addition, additional pressure will be exerted from the Dedonder Cabinet to phase out the F-35 early, and to switch to the FCAS as the main combat aircraft as soon as possible.
See also  Apple wants US employees to know if they have been vaccinated | Economie

Also not unimportant: Does FCAS serve as a replacement for the F-35?

  • Major defense forces have the luxury of combining different combat aircraft. For example, Germany and the United Kingdom fly with the Eurofighter Typhoon, a fourth-generation aircraft. France also has a fourth generation fighter, the Dassault Rafale.
  • The FCAS and Tempest projects aim to replace these aircraft, sometime between 2040 and 2050. But the United Kingdom and Germany, for example, are also investing in the F-35, just to complement the fourth-generation aircraft. This group will also remain in the future, or between the F-35 and FCAS / Tempest.
  • Belgium simply seems to have very few resources to pursue such a mix.

(For example)