AFP: Europe's air forces risk falling behind as US and China bulk up17 June 2019 | 06:01 | FOCUS News Agency
President Emmanuel Macron will attend the opening of the Paris Air Show where the defence ministers of France, Germany and Spain will sign the cooperation framework for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS).
The new jet is part of a broader push to unify Europe's military might and reduce its reliance on US equipment, and the project will also include drones and cruise missiles.
It will be spearheaded by Airbus and France's Dassault Aviation, which aim to have the plane in the skies by 2040, and other nations might sign on as well.
Yet the jet already has a rival on home turf -- Britain's Tempest stealth fighter project, which Italy and the Netherlands have also joined.
And European defence spending still lags far behind the billions being spent in the US as well as China, which has made no secret of wanting to bulk up its military muscle.
European firms also face much bigger American rivals, underscored by the mega-merger of Raytheon and United Technologies announced earlier this month.
"There's an increasingly glaring imbalance between the way Europe is constructing its aeronautic, space and defence industry, and that way it's happening in the two blocs that are challenging it, the United States and China," said Philippe Plouvier at the Boston Consulting Group in Paris.
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