Since its announcement a few months after the election of Emmanuel Macron to the Presidency of the French Republic in 2017, the program of the Air Combat System of the Future, or SCAF, has encountered many obstacles, to the point of being twice already passed on the verge of breaking up. In question, the deep differences and contradictory ambitions between French, German and Spanish expectations, and above all a flagrant lack of trust between the 3 actors of the program, and especially between France and Germany. And the statements of the German Defense Ministry relayed by the website of the daily Der Spiegel are far from shedding light on this already obscure picture.
Indeed, for the German site, the Ministry of Defense in Berlin seems convinced that the NGF, the combat aircraft which will represent the main component of the SCAF program and will replace the German and Spanish Typhoons and the French Rafales from 2040, will in fact only be an “improved Rafale” financed with funds from France's partners, and to consider that the program is neither relevant for the German armies, nor for the country's aeronautics industry. Which, in itself, is not necessarily completely wrong from a certain point of view, since like the Rafale, the NGF will have to be able to ensure the nuclear mission, to be able to board the future nuclear aircraft carrier. French, characteristics specific to the Rafale and which Germany does not need. But such digressions are reminiscent of the very aggressive offensive led by German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer against French positions on strategic autonomy on the sidelines of the American elections. At that time, the French president was satisfied to answer that he had a position in agreement with that of Angela Merkel, a way of signifying that the declarations of the German Minister of Defense had little weight in the continuation of defense cooperation programs between France and Germany.
The Article published by Der Spiegel reinvigorates the positions defended by the Minister of Defense, and shows that the SCAF program, like the MGCS program of new generation combat tanks, also Franco-German, could well evolve under a sword of Damocles all the more threatening as it is inevitable, namely the imminent departure of Angela Merkel from the head of the CDU, and especially from the German Chancellery. However, today, one can wonder if these two programs will not continue today on the sole will of the two European leaders, and if the departure of Angela Merkel from the German Chancellery next September will not also mark their end. to both?
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