The SCAF program breaks the rut, without solving the fundamental problems

After several weeks of psychodrama against a background of growing tensions between German industrial demands deemed excessive by France, and the positions considered authoritarian of French industry according to Germany, the program of Systeme de Combat Aérien du Futur, or SCAF, which brings together France, Germany and Spain, has apparently emerged from the rut in which he had been engaged for months, thanks in particular to the intervention of the French Senate and its defense and foreign affairs committee. In a session that was akin to couple psychotherapy, French and German industrialists were able to clearly express their expectations, grievances and concerns, allowing the parties to find a way out, and present a project at the end of last week. cooperation around the NGF (Next Generation Fighter) pillar and the Propulsion pillar, the two sticking points that blocked the program.

The nature of the agreement reached between Dassault Aviation and Airbus Defense and Space regarding the NGF has not yet been made public. It is therefore not known whether there will be a single demonstrator built by Dassault Aviation, or two demonstrators, one built in France, the other in Germany by Airbus DS. On the other hand, we now know that it will be Safran's M88 engine, the very one that powers the Rafale, which will equip this demonstrator, and not the Rolls-Royce EJ200 co-developed by the German MTU, as proposed by Berlin and Madrid, despite the fact that the main part of the engine, namely the electronics and the high pressure hot parts, were designed by the British company. For the propulsion of the NGF, the principle of a joint venture between Safran and MTU has been implemented, the French making the hot parts of the engine, the German the cold parts. But do these agreements really provide long-term solutions to guarantee the sustainability and effectiveness of the program in the face of the many questions raised in recent weeks? We can reasonably wonder about the subject ...

The NGF demonstrator will be powered by Safran's M88 engine, which is already fitted to the Rafale.

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