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The new aerial battlefield incorporates manned and unmanned systems, satellites, etc. All these elements must be interconnected in order to achieve maximal coordination. The European cloud platform Air Combat Cloud could solve this urgent need.

The cloud platform is designed for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS), a European combat system of systems under development. The combat cloud is a shared internet database that will connect together the European Next Generation Fighter, new missiles, swarming drones, satellites, existing aircraft and NATO navies. This combat system is expected to achieve full operational capability by 2040. 

The cloud is expected to improve situational awareness and collaborative operations as it can allow all the platforms to connect and synchronize in real-time within FCAS. It will also support information processing and distribution.

Airbus and Thales have partnered to develop the cloud platform and will work closely on its structural design. The agreement has been signed after the Phase 1A Demonstrators contract for the FCAS was awarded. It supports the Demonstrator Phase 1A’s Air Combat Cloud pillar. The first phase of technology demonstrations of air combat Cloud capabilities will also be performed by the companies together.

It will be designed first in the Franco-German FCAS cooperation frame and will be extended to support collaborative air operations at national and multinational levels.

Increasing collaborative combat capabilities at a European level will be based on the decision taken by member countries.

Thales said the two companies “are convinced that, by combining both companies’ capabilities with the wider French and German defense industry, both partners will actively contribute to shaping future European airpower, the key to securing Europe’s operational, technological and industrial sovereignty for the coming decades.”

Airbus will bring its expertise in combat and mission aircraft, digitalized command and control, communication, cybersecurity, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and space systems to the partnership. Thales will use its expertise in digital security, space and aerospace systems, as well as defense equipment and solutions, according to airforce-technology.com.