12-11-2017 11:11 AM
The French-German program to develop a new warplane is expected to include other European countries in the end, a senior Italian Air Force official said.
France and Germany announced in July that they would jointly develop a new European fighter, eventually replacing Eurofighter and France's Dassault Raval.
The joint declaration did not clarify the role that other European countries could play if they had any role to play. Italy is a partner in the Eurofighter project, along with France, Germany, Spain and Britain.
"I do not think that the development of such a complex system could happen without the wider participation of the European aviation industry," said Italian Air Force Chief of Staff Enzo Vicharli. "We have to look for all countries to join a new project towards a fifth generation aircraft," he told a military conference in Dubai.
The F-35, produced by Lockheed Martin in the United States, is the only Western fighter of the fifth generation, according to the manufacturer.
The fifth-generation definition varies among manufacturers, but it includes an expanded form of advanced stealth capabilities, and highly integrated computer systems capable of communicating between fighters.