The German Government is negotiating with the UK and France to join the Future Offensive Air System (FOAS) project. It hopes to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) early next year.
The move will clear the way for DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (Dasa) - to become part of the European Aeronautic, Defense and Space company soon - to participate in the FOAS studies with British Aerospace and Dassault Aviation.
"The talks have made progress and the government says it will be ready to sign early next year," says Aloysius Rauen, Dasa military aircraft division president. "We want to become a full member of the club and a precondition for this is an enhanced MoU."
Rauen says it is too early to say what role Dasa will play in the FOAS studies. Also to be resolved is the level of German funding. The Ministry of Defence confirms that it expects to sign an MoU.
By around 2020, Panavia Tornados in the UK and Germany and Mirage 2000Ds in France will be replaced with the FOAS, which could be a manned or unmanned aircraft, a cruise missile or a combination of the three.