As part of the definition phase of the Future Combat Air System (FCAS), the French Ministry of Armed Forces is here with a demonstration movie of a “new-generation collaborative combat” mission in 2040.

The FCAS is a major topic here at the show, as Dassault was to unveil on Monday a conceptual mockup of the New Generation Fighter (NGF), a manned aircraft to be central in the system. Airbus was to unveil remote carriers – unmanned aircraft to be used as decoys or platforms for sensors or electromagnetic jamming. Spain is to officially join France and Germany in the project. 

Shown on a wide screen, the ministry’s scenario is about destroying a “strongly defended” enemy air base, says lieutenant colonel Frédéric Ledoux, a member of the ministry’s FCAS team.

The attacking group includes NGFs, modernized Rafales and Eurofighter Typhoons, remote carriers, a multirole tanker transport (MRTT) and A400M transports. They are supported by satellites, an aircraft carrier and frigates.

They all are linked to a cloud-based information network. The MRTT acts as a communications relay. The crew of an NGF has delegated authority to conduct the raid, especially if the situation diverges from the initial plan.

Guided bombs are equipped with optical sensors and launched from a distance of 50 to 100 nm. They can automatically reassign their targets among themselves. That may happen if some of the bombs are destroyed in flight by enemy defense. In case a sensor detects a hangar is empty, a target of opportunity will be suggested to the commanding NGF pilot.

Overall, a feature of the FCAS will be increased capability in information processing, says Ledoux.

The A400Ms will release the remote carriers, thus keeping capacity available for weapons in the NGF’s bays.