Dassault is a French jet maker and has recently unveiled its vision for the sixth-generation fighter jet. The Future Combat Air System, FCAS, is the Dassault’s very first clean sheet fighter design in about four decades after the 1980s-era Rafale. The aircraft is currently undergoing design in partnership with European aircraft giant Airbus. The Future Combat Air System is slated to take flight in 2026.
The fighter jet mockup was displayed during the Paris Air Show. An elevated bubble canopy with the promise of outstanding visibility to the pilot will be part of the jet. The Future Combat Air System will feature two engines and air intakes similar to F-35. The FCAS appears to have the cranked kite wing formation that can be seen in the X-47B unmanned aerial vehicle. The cranked kite design causes the broadening of the fuselage, thus increasing the internal volume of the aircraft and providing more room for internally stored fuel and weapons.
From the looks of it, the Future Combat Air System will have a set of low-angle stabilizers instead of the vertical and horizontal stabilizers, thus making it more stealthy. The jet will be a single-seat only aircraft. The mockup of the cockpit shows that a digital screen will be taking up almost all of the space in front of the pilot, thus offering an enhanced view of items including the maps.
Tony Osbourne, London Bureau Chief for Aviation Week & Space Technology, has stated that the FCAS mockup appears to be ‘1/3rd or 1/4 bigger than a Rafale’. Stealth fighters are designed to carry weapons, fuel, and special equipment internally, thus allowing to preserve the aircraft’s shape that can help it evade radar’s detection. However, they come with the option of carrying these externally once the air superiority over the enemy has been achieved.
FCAS will be the most pan-European jet to be developed so far. France is known for making its own path as far as designing and building fighter jets goes. However, this time, it has entered into a collaboration with the Airbus. Airbus partner nations Germany and Spain will also be fielding the fighter jet.
Let’s see how good of a job Dassault and Airbus are able to carry out, fingers crossed!