French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation has admitted that the New Generation Fighter program is facing further delays that could last more than a decade.
The sixth-generation fighter jet was expected to take its first flight by 2027, with the final design scheduled to be completed by 2030.
However, due to delays in reaching an agreement with the involved parties, the state-of-the-art aircraft may be ready for deployment in 2050 – a decade behind the original in-service target of 2040.
“2040 is already lost because we [have] not [started] yet,” Dassault chief executive officer Éric Trappier told reporters. “So, we are left rather for the 2050s.”
Trappier had previously disclosed that his company and European aerospace firm Airbus have yet to reach an agreement regarding the research and development phase of the program.
In January, it was reported that the French defense procurement and technology agency had successfully tested the Future Air Combat System aircraft prototype engine.
However, the program faced setbacks two months ago because participating companies did not agree on key workshare allowances.