Thales and Finmeccanica – Selex ES welcome the signature of the FCAS Arrangement between the United Kingdom and France. Within the UK-French framework, the two companies will cooperate for the development of the multifunction sensor suite and the communication sub-system of the future Anglo-French Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS).
A two-year feasibility study, expected to be formally contracted before the end of 2014, will see the two companies work collaboratively in a 50/50 split to lay the groundwork for all the sensing systems required for a future UCAS.
In the airborne sensors domain, Thales and Finmeccanica – Selex ES are partners of choice of Ministries of Defence in the UK and France. The agreement will therefore create an unmatched European force in defence electronics, with a broad width of expertise and experience in Manned and Unmanned Aerial Systems technology.
The indisputable European leadership of the two partner companies in this domain is a guarantee that they will provide a fully integrated sensor suite able to meet the emerging customers’ requirements either for Unmanned or for Combat platforms.
The collaboration between the two national champions is articulated in two main streams:
Exclusive agreement for UK-French FCAS sensor cooperation: During the two year Feasibility Phase, the two companies will exclusively collaborate on all sensor requirements for the UK-French Future Combat Air System (FCAS) programme. The two companies will lead the sensor and communication definition package for FCAS, involving other UK and French industry as appropriate. The cooperation also includes joint technology maturation activities to inform the design activities.
“PERFECTA” Project for the joint development of a digital backbone for the multifunction sensor: Thales and Finmeccanica – Selex ES will also jointly execute a contract from the French Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) and the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) to develop the digital backbone (flexible multifunction sensor suite management and processing) for future advanced sensor systems.
By bringing together the sheer wealth of defence electronic expertise of the two respective companies, Britain and France will be able to operate UCAS effectively in a high threat environment. By providing innovative sensor solutions, the companies will also be sustaining and developing sovereign technologies and a critical skills base in the UK and France.
Norman Bone, Finmeccanica – Selex ES Managing Director, Airborne and Space Systems Division said “I am confident that this new collaborative programme, together with our partner Thales, will help to shape the future of the next generation of Combat Aircraft in Europe.”
Pierre-Eric Pommellet, Thales SVP, Defence Mission Systems noted that “The future of combat aircraft in Europe cannot be envisioned without strong cooperation between the key players. In this respect, this cooperation between the two European leaders in Airborne Systems is the insurance for the UK and French governments that this project will develop the sensors standards of the next decade by generating competitive and innovating solutions.”