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Europe's aerospace sector at a crossroads

  • Magazine Feature Article
  • 12AERD0815_04
Published August 15, 2012 by SAE International in United States
  • English

Europe is facing a massive black hole in its future defense procurement portfolio. What will replace today's fighters and trainers when the present order backlogs have been produced?

A new report by the European Defence Agency (EDA) titled “Future Air Systems 4 Europe” presents in blunt, stark terms how Europe's military plane makers are heading toward a future crisis in just a few years.

Current leading military combat jets are progressing well in sales terms, but all were launched more than 20 years ago and will need to be replaced on the assembly lines within a decade. However, it can take two decades to get a new combat airplane from the signature desk to squadron service, so unless difficult decisions are faced up to soon, European aircraft factories face a gradual rundown and maybe even complete closure, perhaps by as early as the end of this decade.