German defence industry develops technologies for Next Generation Weapon System (NGWS)

By Defence Industry Europe

The German defence procurement agency (BAAINBw) has taken a significant step towards the development of advanced defence technologies with the recent signing of a national study contract. This contract marks the initiation of a two-year research phase within the Next Generation Weapon System (NGWS) project, aimed at addressing the technological challenges posed by a highly interconnected weapon system.

 

The study contract, signed in cooperation with a consortium of industry leaders, lays the foundation for seven integrated research projects. The primary focus of these research activities will revolve around exploring the technological complexities associated with a networked weapons system, with a particular emphasis on ensuring the seamless integration of diverse airborne platforms.

As a central component of the Future Combat Air System (FCAS), the NGWS comprises a next-generation combat aircraft known as the New Generation Fighter (NGF) and drones referred to as Remote Carriers. These elements are interconnected via a data cloud known as the Multi-Domain Combat Cloud (MDCC), establishing connectivity with ground-based, naval, aerial, space, and cyberspace systems.

 

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The research endeavors encompass the advancement of foundational technologies as well as the development of a high-performance environment for mission planning and execution, inclusive of secure and forward-looking communication systems. In this context, aspects such as the potential application of mission intelligence and innovative armament technologies, including air-launched lasers, are being considered. The ultimate goal of this comprehensive research initiative is the national demonstration of essential NGWS functionalities.

The lead contract partners are a collaborative research and development consortium consisting of Airbus Defence and Space GmbH, MBDA Deutschland GmbH, and FCMS GbR. The latter represents a union of Hensoldt AG, Diehl Defence GmbH, ESG GmbH, and Rohde & Schwarz GmbH.

In addition to the principal contractors, more than 35 other companies, including small and medium-sized enterprises, startups, and research institutions, are actively participating in this national innovation program. This initiative deliberately draws expertise from outside the defence sector and consolidates competencies in aviation technologies, with the aim of creating a substantial national knowledge base that will ultimately contribute to the overall NGWS.

 

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The NGWS is an integral part of the FCAS program, originally initiated by Germany and France, with Spain now joining as the third partner nation. The three nations share a common objective to develop and deploy a next-generation air combat system, slated for operational readiness by 2040.

This research project, estimated at approximately EUR 260 million and funded from the Bundeswehr’s special assets, represents a unique endeavor in terms of its scale and significantly contributes to the future readiness of NGWS and FCAS.

 

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