France and Germany Plan New 5th Generation Fighter, is it an Opportunity for India?


France and Germany have announced their intention to work together to develop a new advanced “European” 5th Generation fighter jet which will be the successor to the France’s Dassault Rafales and Germany’s Eurofighter Typhoons. France and German are planning to come up with a Road Map by Mid of 2018. European fighter jet is still in infancy and a clean slate program which India has been looking for long to help its workforce get enough experience in design and development of advanced 5th generation fighter jet so that it can be helpful to develop its own 5th generation AMCA fighter aircraft.

Lack of Progress on Indo-Russian proposed FGFA 5th Generation fighter jet suggests that difference between two over work share agreements, price and transfer of technology has not lead to any breakthrough even after both concluded a design agreements Nearly Seven Years ago. Since France and Germany are yet to work out basic requirements for development of new European fighter jet it can be predicted somewhat that new fighter jet will be Twin-engined Medium Class Stealth Fighter jet designed for Air-Superiority and Strike Missions just like the predecessor they will be replacing. France and Germany both have the technology required to develop this new jet and it is expected the new jet will enter production by 2030 and will have continued production line even beyond 2040. While Eurofighter Typhoon and Dassault Rafale are still getting export orders and technologically are still relevant but growing export orders of American F-35 5th Generation fighter jet will soon lead to sharp fall in its price due to a streamlined production line leading to prospective future customers moving away from 4.5++ Generation fighters like Eurofighter Typhoon and Dassault Rafale in long run since both are still 80’s designed fighter jets which cannot incorporate Stealth in any future variants .

For India, it could be a win-win situation if a deal for FGFA with Russia is scrapped ultimately and India is able to stay away from American temptation called F-35. If India is able to become third partner country in the project it will bring in required R&D investment money and also come with committed number of fighter jet order. Since the Project is a Clean Slate development of a 5th Generation fighter jet, India can add its required inputs and requirements and will also be able to contribute its own technology for the project and vice versa also receive transfer of technology and along with ownership status to profit from any future export.