Airbus CEO says eyes merger of its, BAE's jet fighter units: Sunday Times
LONDON (Reuters) - The chief executive of Airbus (AIR.PA) said he was open to a merger of his firm’s jet fighter business with that of BAE Systems (BAES.L), the Sunday Times reported.
Tom Enders was quoted as saying it was time to “seriously look at consolidating and coalescing efforts eventually to one” and that “there’s just no room for three different programs, not even for two”.
His comments raise the prospect of a pan-European military aircraft firm to compete with the United States.
Airbus and BAE Systems were not immediately available to comment.
Enders got a chance to examine BAE’s futuristic jet fighter, known as Tempest, which was unveiled last week to the international defense and aerospace industry and which the company plans to send into the skies by 2035.
The Airbus CEO is interested in the creation of sixth-generation fighter jet, and currently, three aircraft – BAE’s Eurofighter Typhoon, French Dassault’s Rafale and Swedish Saab’s Gripen – are contending for contracts and investment. Enders, however, has suggested that the BAE jet should be combined with a French-German project to design the futuristic stealth fighter.
“There’s just no room for three different programs, not even for two. We really want the next generation to be competitive with the Americans and we need to consolidate that into one. That is the imperative,” he said.
He further noted that the key players needed to “align industrial forces to create one big program” that could have “a significant chance of winning big export orders outside Europe.”
In 2012, Enders made an attempt to merge Airbus and BAE to create a 38-billion-euro defense and aerospace behemoth, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel dealt a coup de grace to the deal, as she was concerned about the passenger jet maker expanding its defense role. Source: sputniknews.com
CEO of Airbus Defense urged Europe to keep its military independence and advised Germany not to procure F-35s