Whose SCAF will it be?
Information that not everything is in order with the “aircraft of the future” has already slipped through the French press. Problems began to emerge from the outset, mainly due to a “lack of trust”, which led to an obsessive desire to ensure that the other side did not gain benefits, both economically and in terms of the use of new technologies developed in this project. Here is the question of the ownership of “intellectual property” for the development, and the right to manufacture certain parts.
In addition, it turns out that purely national differences in decision-making have become a serious obstacle. In France, with its vertical of power, the project is handled by the Directorate General for Armaments (DGA), which is part of the Ministry of Defense. In Germany, the Ministries of Defense, Economy and the Chancellor’s Office have to coordinate everything with the Bundestag, as well as negotiate with private business. This moment, especially the decisive role of the German parliament in the allocation of funds, which is accompanied by various conditions, irritates the French and is perceived by them as a way to establish control over them. Moreover, it is the French aviation concerns – Dassault, Airbus, a number of others – that have been appointed as the lead aircraft developers.
But the main thing here, perhaps, is the growing understanding in Paris that Berlin has different approaches to military issues in general. In the current geopolitical situation, Emmanuel Macron wants the EU to become an independent player in the future, with whom everyone would reckon, which, in his opinion, is impossible without sovereignty in the field of defense. As for Berlin, since the end of World War II, defense issues have been clearly oriented towards Washington and the North Atlantic Alliance.