Major French and UK companies have received requests for proposals (RFPs) for technology demonstrator programmes (TDPs) for the Future Offensive Air System (FOAS). Manned aircraft, unmanned air vehicles and cruise missiles are being considered for the FOAS, which will replace Royal Air Force Panavia Tornados in the strike role from around 2017.
The French and UK defence ministries have issued joint RFPs to European Aero Systems, a British Aerospace/Dassault joint venture; avionics and systems specialists Marconi Electronic Systems(MES)and Thomson-CSF and engine suppliers Rolls-Royce and Snecma. Further RFPs have been issued by the UK MoD only to BAe, MES and R-R. France has similar technology acquisition needs to those of the UK, but has no FOAS-type requirement.
The UK MoD describes the move as a good example of European co-operation at government and industrial level. Future TDPs could be extended to other countries, with a second tranche due in 2001.