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France, Germany, Spain proceed with FCAS warplane development: sources

France, Germany and Spain have reached agreement over starting the next phase in the development of a new fighter jet dubbed FCAS, Europe’s largest defence project at an estimated cost of more than EUR 100 bn, two sources told Reuters on Friday.

The three countries and their respective industries had struck a deal, said a defence source who spoke on condition of anonymity and did not give details.

A French official also confirmed that the industries, seen as the main stumbling blocks in reaching an agreement recently, had struck a deal to move to the next phase of the warplane project.

The German government said that talks over the next phase are progressing.

Previously, sources had said that the next development phase for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) was expected to cost some EUR 3.5 bn, shared equally by the three countries.

France’s Dassault, Airbus and Indra – the latter two representing Germany and Spain respectively – are involved in the scheme which will start replacing French Rafale and German and Spanish Eurofighters from 2040.

French President Emmanuel Macron and then German Chancellor Angela Merkel had first announced plans in July 2017 for FCAS, which will include a fighter jet and a range of associated weapons, including drones.

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