Tim Ripley  

British and French fighter manufacturers have formed a joint venture company to develop the technology for the next generation of European combat aircraft.

European Aerosystems brings together British Aerospace and Dassault Aviation in a formal arrangement, which builds on the November 1995 memorandum of understanding between the two companies.  

Executives from both companies attended a signing ceremony in London on Saturday to conclude the long-trailed agreement.  

The joint venture company will continue studies into technologies associated with airframe design and manufacturing; avionics systems integration; vehicle systems

integration; weapons integration; air vehicle development facilities; weapon system design and development; and manufacturing processes, methods and tools.  

BAe and Dassault signed a technology exchange agreement in 1992 and since 1996 have worked on a joint UK/French Government study programme.


Focused approach  

"The formalising of the joint venture is a logical follow-on from this work and will enable a more focused approach to be applied," says a BAe-Dassault statement. 

The two companies will have equal ownership of the joint venture; its six-member board will comprise three from each company. Its headquarters will be in the UK.

There will be a number of full-time employees with the joint venture, which will be supported by employees from both companies working in teams in both the UK and France.

 "Joint ventures of this kind are key to competing in global defence markets," says BAe-Dassault. "Increasingly the only way extensive research and development programmes will be able to be undertaken is by accessing multinational budgets and working in partnership toward joint solutions.  

"This joint venture is an important step toward the gradual harmonisation of European research and development work to meet multi-national defence requirements."

Source: Flight Daily News