The event marked the very first joint visit by a German and French Minister of Defense to the site, which is home to some 5,600 Airbus employees of 43 nationalities and some 1,000 soldiers from the German armed forces.
The two ministers underlined the importance of promoting key European defense programs such as the development of a European drone, the Euro MALE RPAS unmanned aerial vehicle, and the Future Combat Air System (FCAS).
A European industrial consortium under the leadership of Airbus, with its partners Dassault Aviation and Leonardo, aims to develop a European drone for France, Germany, Italy and Spain, also often publicly called “EuroDrone”. This new system is designed to provide a unique operational capability in Europe in the field of unmanned aerial surveillance.
The FCAS program, implemented by the French and German governments in 2017, will provide the next level of air power by creating a system of manned and unmanned platforms with full operational capability planned for 2040. Spain has started. time joined the program, making FCAS a true European company.
On the industrial side, Dassault Aviation and Airbus lead FCAS activities with other key partners. Despite the constraints related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the joint concept study, launched in 2019, and the demonstration phase 1A, launched this year, remain on track.
“The visit of the French and German defense ministers to Manching is a clear signal of the importance of a strong and efficient defense industry for Europe,” said Guillaume Faury, CEO of Airbus. “Manching is the competence center and national champion for all German fixed-wing military platforms and is therefore of strategic importance to our local customer. Here we are also shaping the future of military aviation with multinational programs such as EuroDrone and FCAS and we are very grateful to have been able to present it to decision makers today.
In addition to the ongoing programs, ministers also got a glimpse of Airbus’ high-end technical engineering capabilities by visiting the future of flight with the Low Observable UAV Testbed (LOUT), a ministry-funded research project. German Defense Force which had first been revealed publicly in the fall of 2019. Low observability will be one of the key factors in the development of the Future Combat Air System.
Policymakers also welcomed the high-level visit to one of Bavaria’s major industrial sites: “Manching is a great example of what Europe can achieve in defense if we join forces. We are not only proud of the international spirit that we see here in Bavaria coming from companies like Airbus where the Germans, French, Spanish, British and other nationalities work hand in hand. Manching is also an example of unique and crucially important models of cooperation with the Bundeswehr, ”said Reinhard Brandl, CSU member in the Bundestag budget committee. “The future of European defense and the future of high-tech industrial sites such as Manching rest on programs such as FCAS and EuroDrone. Therefore, we must make sure that they are approved and presented in a joint and balanced way. “