France, Germany announce new joint fighter program

France and Germany announced they are planning to develop a new joint fighter plane following a French-German cabinet meeting Thrusday.
By Stephen Carlson  |  July 14, 2017 at 11:34 AM
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July 14 (UPI) -- France and Germany announced they are planning to develop a new joint fighter plane following a French-German cabinet meeting Thrusday.

French president Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the plan at a news conference following the meeting. The two leaders also confirmed their countries commitment to the "Euro-drone" program and other defense and economic programs.

"This is a revolution, but we're not afraid of revolutions when they are peaceful, well-thought and meant to last," Macron said.

The proposed fighter would replace the French Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets currently in service by the 2030-2040 timeframe. The first unmanned aerial vehicles under Euro-drone are expected be delivered by 2020.

"I believe that we have shown shortly after the new government here was installed that we are ready to activate Franco-German relations with a new impetus," Merkel said.

Absent from the announcement was any role that Britain might play in the project.

Britain was a main participant in the Eurofighter consortium that built the Typhoon. The "Brexit," Britain's exit from the European Union, has led to complications concerning joint European military programs. Britain is Europe's leading military spender.

The new fighter would provide competition for the United States' F-35 Lightening II and other 5th generation platforms for worldwide sales, but so far is only in its conceptual stages.

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