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A welcome observer? Workshare wrangles loom as Belgium joins SCAF future fighter effort

12th September 2023 - 13:30 GMT | by Edward Hunt in Trieste


Belgium now has observer status on SCAF, which may eventually lead to dilution of Spain and others’ workshare on the programme. (Image: Airbus Defence & Space)

Of the three major Western next-generation fighter programmes, the (arguably) French-led SCAF has received the least attention in English-speaking media. As Belgium gains observer status on the programme, what will this mean for the workshare arrangements between France, Germany and Spain?

Language barriers aside, one reason for the lack of media attention regarding SCAF is the relative lack of visible progress (and hence released details). After acrimonious negotiations, SCAF Phase 1B was signed in December, allocating around $4 billion to the crewed fighter element.

During June’s Paris Airshow, Belgium’s participation in SCAF as an ‘observer’ was confirmed, with future options for closer collaboration.

What contribution could Belgium make to SCAF?

While Belgium has a variety of high-tech companies the most obvious contributor would be SABCA, the aerospace concern that is participating in F-35 procurement. However, this muddies the position of Spain, which

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Edward Hunt


Edward Hunt

Edward has worked in the aerospace and defence Industry since 2005, initially for Jane’s and then …

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