Future Combat Air System (FCAS) and Future Combat Mission System (FCMS)


Air superiority is an essential prerequisite for the success of future mission scenarios. Enormous technology leaps lead to rapidly growing, cross-domain and increasingly complex threat scenarios. In order to meet this demand, the initiative to develop a European defence system, the so-called Future Combat Air System, was born. It is supposed to become the future European air combat system and faces the challenge of networking the individual components to provide an overall system of manned and unmanned platforms. The Future Combat Air System is composed of the following components:

Next Generation Fighter (NGF)
The Next Generation Fighter is a sixth-generation fighter capable of networking with unmanned components. In conjunction with the Remote Carrier, it forms the Next Generation Weapon System (NGWS).

Remote Carrier (RC)
Remote Carrier in different weight classes represent multipliers for the operational effectiveness of the NGWS network. A Loyal Wingman is a large system which directly supports the NGF and which is reusable. Light and Heavy Remote Carrier (LRC/HRC) are similar to classical cruise missiles and can be modularly equipped depending on the operational scenario. They can be used in an air-surface role for electronic warfare, reconnaissance purposes and further missions.

Air Combat Cloud (ACC)
The Future Combat Air System is completed by the Air Combat Cloud which connects the Next Generation Fighter with the Remote Carrier as well as already existing legacy platforms. This allows data exchange in real time and thus ensures information superiority.

Future Combat Mission System (FCMS)
With the Future Combat Mission System, decision chains with flexible and powerful sensors, processing systems and effectors will be embedded in the network of the overall airborne system of manned and unmanned platforms, carriers and command and control systems. This is how the so-called Combat Cloud is achieved and successfully guarantees missions as a complex overall system.

The FCMS industrial consortium with the German companies Hensoldt Sensors GmbH, Diehl Defence GmbH & Co. KG, ESG Elektroniksystem- und Logistik-GmbH and Rohde & Schwarz GmbH & Co. KG, bundles essential core competencies of the national key technologies under one roof exactly for this purpose. FCMS offers broad and technologically profound national technology know-how for the FCAS/NGWS programme and thus ensures the required national ability to contribute and future-proof in the field of 6th Generation Mission Systems.

The overarching goal is to implement the functionality of the networked sensor and effector systems in a platform-independent manner and to be able to use them in real joint and combined operations.

Within this consortium, Diehl Defence covers all areas of expertise from target location to target engagement and contributes knowledge in the fields of sensor technology and armament of NGF and RC. In addition, Diehl Defence is involved in the handling of national research topics, such as networking, sensor and data fusion, artificial intelligence and image processing.

Connected systems. Combined forces. Joint industries.


IRIS-T Future Combat Air-to-Air Missile (IRIS-T FCAAM)

Agile, precise and low-observable

Effective self-defence for single platforms and combat formations

FCAAM is the conceptionally logical further development of the already existing IRIS-T short-range air defence system, taking into consideration enhanced capabilities for air combats to be expected in the future. FCAAM is particularly derived from the estimated future combat air system (FCAS) scenarios.

The FCAAM features include:

  • Use on low-observable platforms in various speed ranges (subsonic and supersonic)
  • 360° combat zone against airborne platforms, including guided missiles
  • Unrivalled maneuverability due to thrust vector control
  • Optimization for use in the network-based "Air Combat Cloud" and for multiple swarm operations (attack as well as defence)
  • Multispectral seeker
  • Resistance to IRCM and DIRCM
  • AI-optimized target identification and aim point selection
  • Precise shot on target capability
  • Autonomous warhead conversion depending on target
  • Optimization of flight trajectories thanks to multiple-pulse solid-fuel motor

The focus is on establishing and securing air superiority over future enemies, especially in the field of air-to-air defence.

FCAAM is the modern air-to-air guided missile for short and medium ranges for legacy and future airborne platforms, including the Next Generation Weapon System (NGWS).

Remote Carrier – Unmanned systems in the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) network

Remote Carrier Remote Carrier
Remote Carrier Remote Carrier

Remote carriers (RC) are an essential component of the Next Generation Weapon System (NGWS) within the Future Combat Air System (FCAS). In their capacity as multipliers, remote carriers ensure the operational effectiveness of the FCAS engagement network or the Next Generation Weapon System (NGWS) with their key capabilities.

With their different variants as well as performance and weight categories, Diehl Defence remote carriers will fulfill a variety of roles and tasks within the NGWS network.

These include reconnaissance, suppression of opposing air defence, as well as electronic warfare and the engagement of air, land and sea targets by means of appropriate modern effector systems.

Thanks to expertise in the field of development and production of airborne guided missile systems gained over decades, the required competences for the development of remote carriers as well as their modular components are available at Diehl Defence and are jointly contributed through the Future Combat Mission System (FCMS) industrial consortium.

Diehl Defence has been a reliable and acknowledged partner of the European Armed Forces for a long time and offers an extensive spectrum of solutions for different kinds of remote carriers with innovative and future-oriented qualities:

  • Modularity
  • Variable payloads (including sensor system, effector system)
  • Real time network connection to the "Air Combat Cloud"
  • Stealth characteristics thanks to low signature
  • Lightweight structure
  • Jam resistant navigation and data links
  • Networked swarm operations
  • Optimized software algorithms (machine learning)
  • Deployment from current (A400M, Eurofighter) and future platforms (FCAS, F-35, MAWS, sea and land units)