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Fighter jets have always been a symbol of national high technology. Their development is time-consuming and associated with high costs. The increasingly multifunctional design leads to highly complex weapon systems with long periods of use. For a long time, an operational advantage arose from technological lead and fleet size. In the information age, these relationships are put into perspective through networking, specialization and collaborative concepts. In a rapid change, new operational challenges arise, for which a Future Combat Air System must be designed.

The operational reality of future conflicts cannot be precisely predicted, but some trends are already emerging today. The ability of the adversary to deny access to possible operational areas and far beyond the territorial boundaries of opposing actors across domains (Anti Access Area Denial) increases the complexity of future deployment scenarios, as does far-reaching electromagnetic effects and threats in cyberspace. At the same time, there is less willingness within society to expose manned platforms and thus their crews to high threats.

Cross-domain skills

Despite increasingly hybrid warfare and the allegedly associated lesser importance of complex weapon systems, the need for assertive flying platforms remains. It underpins the defensive ability and thus reduces the likelihood of an enemy attack.

In the future, however, technological dynamics will require rapid adaptability. Combating a cross-domain, highly integrated active network also requires the ability to precisely use such cross-domain effects. Joint All Domain Operations (JADO) place high demands on future battle management systems and will redefine air warfare.

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