Pourquoi l’avion franco-allemand de patrouille maritime est un projet en état de mort cérébrale

Le plan B pour l

Chronicle of an accident announced more than a year ago. Announced in July 2017 by Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron in Toulouse, the future European maritime patrol aircraft, the MAWS (Maritime Airborne Warfare System) project, which was to be launched within the framework of Franco-German cooperation, was affected for two new missiles. However, Paris and Berlin still do not want to take responsibility for officially burying the MAWS project, which was intended to replace the Atlantique 2 (ATL2), essential for deterrent force support missions (SNLE), and the P-3C Orion Germans. . This program had been announced at the same time as five other cooperation projects between France and Germany: the plane and tank of the future (SCAF and MGCS), broken down, the MALE Eurodrone drone launched with pain and, finally, the Tiger Mark 3 and the MAST-F missile launched in two stages by Berlin.

Hit by two new missiles

Germany and France have driven two new nails into the MAWS coffin. First of all, Berlin wants to acquire three new American P-8 Orion planes after the deadly order already placed for five planes (1,770 million dollars), entrusted at the end of July to the chief of the General Staff of the national navy, Admiral Pierre Vandier , during a hearing in the National Assembly. “The future of this project is made uncertain by its unilateral decision to buy five American aircraft, P-8 Poseidon, and the project to acquire another three”explained to the deputies.

In addition, Paris is seriously working on a plan B, explained in mid-July the General Delegate for Armament Joël Barre, who has since been replaced by Emmanuel Chiva. “Although it is presented as a temporary solution (the purchase of the P-8 by the Germans, editor’s note), this had the immediate effect of forcing us to resume the work of building the cooperative program that we had envisioned”said the former DGA to the deputies. Dassault Aviation CEO Eric Trappier confirmed in July during the half-year earnings conference call that his group “I was preparing an offer based on a Falcon 10X that we are going to present to the DGA for a preliminary study in the coming weeks”. France reflects on what could be its future patrol plane maritime. Because nobody in Paris believes that the purchase of P-8 is a interim solution”.

“For France we are in the money-time, where everything is at stake, since the life of the ATL 2 is limited by that of its engines, the Tyne turbines, the same as those of the Transall, which have just been retired. Therefore, we will have to replace this aircraft to ensure the continuity of deterrence support missions.”Admiral Pierre Vandier explained. Clearly, the French Navy needs a new device in the early 2030s. “The Atlantic 2 Tyne turbine is at the end of its life in 2032/2033, so get going nowwe tell La Tribune. So the question is clear: are the Germans with us or not?

The Berlin Stab

Why was this program blocked? Whose fault is it? A poor harmonization of capacity schedules between France and Germany: the replacement of the depleted P-3C Orions could not wait for that of the ATL2 (2030). “When it became clear that German maritime patrol aircraft would have a shorter service life than ours, we offered Germany a transitional solution for the German armed forces, so as not to compromise this Franco-German programme”, explained in May 2021 the Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly in an interview with La Tribune. Today the Germans are an agenda “post 2040” for a new program, trust a source close to the file.

The MAWS project was also affected by the evident lack of desire of Berlin to play in conjunction with Paris, which tried to find solutions to the purchase of American P-8s ready to use so as not to compromise this Franco-German program. France offered the Germans a stopgap solution while they waited for ATL2’s MAWS to be upgraded to Standard 6. This solution did not interest them. Worse still, France did not have an answer. “We legitimately thought that this proposal was interesting and, furthermore, it was part of a coherent approach in which we are already engaged with the Germans with the C-130, as part of the Franco-German squadron of C-130s in Evreux. “the minister had then specified in this interview.

And finally, the stab. The Ministry of the Armed Forces was stirred in flour to discover neither more nor less than “The US Congress was preparing to grant FMS (Foreign Military Sales, nlr) authorization for the P8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft, which, in our opinion, cannot be a pending MAWS add-on”, said the minister. This doesn’t stop the Germans from playing a fun game with France even today. The Germans send the message that they are still interested in MAWS.

This is clearly the message that the new Chief of Staff of the German Navy, Admiral Jan C. Kaack sent to his French counterpart, Admiral Vandier, we explained to La Tribune. The German Navy Deputy Chief Plan recently reminded the French Navy of this again. Apart from this central question, will the Germans want to beat Airbus against Dassault Aviation for the platform? “This answer was not given”, we note a source close to the file. A new match in prospect between Dassault and Airbus? Beyond that, the German tactic seems to unsettle French political leaders, always ready to play the game of Franco-German cooperation despite the slaps in the face.