FCAS is the largest European armaments project of all - it's about the fighter aircraft of the future.
However, fundamental concerns have not been allayed.
Berlin (dpa) - Before a decision in the Bundestag on the further financing of the multi-billion air combat system FCAS, the Federal Audit Office warned of numerous critical points.
In a classified letter, the examiners point out unanswered questions to specialist politicians and state: “Whether the risks are acceptable is to be decided in the overall political perspective.” The Ministry of Defense (BMVg) presented the project risks transparently.
The paper was available to the German Press Agency in Berlin.
The air combat system should be operational by 2040 and replace the Eurofighter.
It is supposed to fly in conjunction with unarmed and armed drones and is in this respect more than a combat aircraft.
The total costs were estimated at a three-digit billion amount.
Three European countries involved
The industries of Germany, France and, in the meantime, Spain are involved in the project - the full name is Next Generation Weapon System in a Future Combat Air System (NGWS / FCAS). The planned technologies are extremely complex, as are the agreements and the negotiation statuses that are barely comprehensible for the public. Just one point of contention: who holds the rights of use when taxpayers' money is used to finance technological quantum leaps.
In mid-May, Germany, France and Spain had announced a “fundamental agreement” for the continuation after an industrial political struggle. The Ministry of Defense now intends to conclude another “implementation agreement” with France and Spain. “The German share of this amounts to around 4.468 billion euros,” states the Federal Audit Office. A decision is to be made in the Bundestag next week.
The auditors are critical of the restricted rights of use to the results of the project, which is financed with taxpayers' money.
The Ministry of Defense stated that the German wish for unrestricted use of the study results for state purposes "could not be enforced in the negotiations with the program partners".
Some of the results are now "only usable with the consent of the manufacturer and the partner nations" outside of the program's purposes.
Lack of profitability?
The Federal Court of Auditors recognizes the political importance of the project, but criticizes the fact that "no final negotiated agreement can be submitted to parliament".
The auditors are also critical of the construction of a so-called additional demonstrator - a kind of prototype - in Germany and recommend an analysis of the economic viability.
The Ministry of Defense also pointed out "certification risks" with the aircraft.
The "Spiegel" had previously reported considerable concerns from the Federal Armed Forces Procurement Office (BAAINBw), where an expert stated that a submitted contract "has to be renegotiated from a technical and economic point of view and is therefore not ready to be signed".
The "Spiegel" wrote: "Internal documents show: Germany has let the French pull it over the table."
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210619-99-60005 / 2