April 15, 2024

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Spain did not want to reduce its participation in the SCAF program after Belgium’s entry.

Spain did not want to reduce its participation in the SCAF program after Belgium’s entry.

Initially, the future air combat system [SCAF] To be the object of cooperation involving only France and Germany. Then, in 2019, the project was opened to Spain, now based on an equal sharing of tasks between the three countries involved.

But it also benefited Airbus Defense and Space when it came to the development of a new generation of aircraft. [New Generation Fighter – NGF], the European group was able to claim two-thirds of the workload against Dassault Aviation. Hence intense negotiations took place between industrialists about Phase 1B of the project. An agreement was reached and it was officially launched on April 28.

But work did not begin when Belgium was invited to join the SCAF, but with observer status. With this decision there is great confidence in the Belgian aeronautics sector.

“The F-16 contract has had a huge impact on the industry for decades,” and with the SCAF, “I think we can achieve the same economic benefits. […] However, this should be the ambition for Belgium,” argued Stephane Burton, CEO of the Orisio Group of Sabka and Sabena engineering companies.

During a hearing in the Senate at the end of May, the CEO of Dassault Aviation, Eric Trappier, did not hide his reservations about the possible participation of Belgium in the SCAF project.

“It’s not easy already, I think we have to stick to what we promised. We have to do phase 1B in three. I hope we continue with phase 2, which will make the future aircraft always fly in three. If we want to expand cooperation, the discussions will be long. Three of this project I remind you that we represent only a part of the French people, and I fear that to go further would be to lose useful skills,” explained Mr. Drappier.

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And he stressed: “If we reopen very quickly the possibility of a new collaboration to give jobs to Belgian companies, I will fight to present my opinion, of course the government can always impose his”.

The government has therefore presented its vision… “Belgium’s participation as an observer will increase the European dimension of the SCAF programme. France, the leader of the project, Germany and Spain recognize the Belgian investment in terms of technological progress and innovation”, also welcomed the Ministry of the Armed Forces.

At BFMTV, if he takes note of this decision, Mr. Drapier recalled that cooperation based on the principle of “fair industrial return”. [les pays impliqués reçoivent une part de travail proportionnelle à leurs commandes] Don’t make it possible to make “better devices”. The Eurofighter Typhoon case is an example…

Many are happy about Belgium’s involvement in the SCAF program… However, it needs to be spaced out. Spain has already marked its perimeter, through the voice of Amparo Valcars, its defense secretary.

“For now, we have only accepted Belgium as an observer. This is very important as it strengthens the SCAF programme”, Mrs Valkars first underlined. reported by specialized platform InfoDefensa and held during the International Air and Space Show at Le Bourget.

Furthermore, by creating “2.5 billion euros of investment” and “1200 jobs in Spain”, Ms Valcarz continued, the SCAF “will have an impact on the Spanish economy equal to that of the Eurofighter in the 1990s”. . And, he argued, “we can ensure that the project serves the economy and creates high-level jobs”.

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As for what Belgium’s visit would mean, the Spanish foreign secretary was adamant: there was no downside to participating in the Madrid plan. “Right now, I strongly defend the 33% participation of our industry,” he said.

If Spain does not want to reduce its participation in SCAF, it will be difficult to make concessions to France and Germany, other than handing the keys to Madrid. A solution involves expanding the program to other skills. But it will add to the bill. In any case, it suggests new animated discussions among the participants of this project…