Germany presents its latest generation DLR-FFD Devil fighter

A team of scientists led by the German Aerospace Center DLR is at the forefront of developing a futuristic generation of fighter aircraft. The DLR has opened a window to this ambitious project, which marks a milestone in military aviation.

Called DLR-FFD [Future Fighter Demonstrator] “Devil,” this aircraft embodies a tangible example of technological advancement. Still shrouded in some mystery, its role within the project raises questions about whether it is part of a tripartite collaborative effort with France and Spain within the FCAS/SKAF program or whether it pursues joint objectives with the United Kingdom, Japan and Italy under the of GCAP.

Specifications and capabilities of the fighter of the future

The specifications released by the DLR arouse great interest: a range of up to 2,000 kilometers is expected, with an effective range of 1,000 to 1,300 kilometers. The maximum takeoff weight is estimated at 36 tons, with a payload capacity of up to 8 tons.

The aircraft’s arsenal stands out for an internal bay capable of housing air-to-air guided missiles with a total weight of up to 1.8 tons, a feature that preserves its stealth capability.

Propulsion is provided by two afterburning engines that promise a thrust of 145 kN or 227 kN, depending on the use of afterburning. This translates into a thrust-to-weight ratio that ranges from an impressive 0.84 to an outstanding 1.32.

The planned maximum speed is 2,800 kilometers per hour, doubling the speed of sound, while the maximum operating altitude is 15.2 kilometers above sea level.

German advance in the military air race: the DLR-FFD in detail

Delving into the engineering behind the DLR-FFD, we discover that Germany has prepared a true air fortress: an aircraft with a robust structure, high-capacity engines, extraordinary speed and unparalleled maneuverability.

This fighter not only aims to dominate the skies due to its power and agility but also due to its strategic design, especially its weapons compartment, which, despite its compactness, is optimized for air-to-air missiles, similar in concept to that of the Su-57 Russian.

Europe is currently under a wave of anticipation, focusing its interest on not just two but four new fighters, bringing the total to five with the addition of the German model.

Closer examination indicates that Sweden is not far behind in this race, with significant progress towards its own next-generation fighter, powered by Saab under the leadership of the Swedish Defense Procurement Institution, FMV.

This year and next, Saab will focus on “conceptual studies of future combat systems,” which will encompass a number of manned and unmanned solutions from a holistic systems perspective.

Swedish collaboration in aerial innovation: Partners and projection

DLR-FFD Devil fighter

Saab, in its journey towards innovation, is not acting alone. The company is aligning with FMV, the Swedish Armed Forces, the Swedish Defense Research Agency and GKN Aerospace, among other industry leaders, to shape the future of combat aviation.

Meanwhile, France also appears to be secretly developing its own sixth-generation fighter, fueling speculation amid the already complex dynamics of the FCAS project. These debates are not foreign to the military field, as demonstrated by the current struggle between Germany and France over the development of armored vehicles.

Europe finds itself in a peculiar position, potentially facing up to five different sixth-generation fighter projects, while the United States is aggressively advancing its NGAD program, with rumors that it has already managed to fly a prototype.

Germany is not far behind, with the DLR unveiling a prototype that, although it does not guarantee series production, does advance the strategic considerations at stake. The DLR Aerospace Centre, known locally as the German Aerospace Centre, is at the epicenter of this initiative, establishing itself as Germany’s main research entity in key sectors such as aerospace, energy and transport.

DLR: catalyst for aerospace and defense innovation

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) stands out as a key pillar in the field of research and development, actively participating in a multitude of both national and international projects.

Its sphere of influence covers various sectors, such as aeronautics, space, energy, transportation, digitalization and security, strengthening its initiatives through global strategic collaborations.

Despite its non-military focus and commitment to the peaceful application of aerospace technology, the DLR contributes significantly to the defense field.

Through its research in aeronautics and space exploration, it develops technologies with potential transversal applications to the military field, demonstrating the interconnection between civil innovation and defense capabilities.

The German aerospace industry plays a crucial role in cutting-edge defense projects such as the Eurofighter Typhoon, a multinational collaboration in which Germany is a key player together with Airbus Defense and Space. This fighter represents the spearhead of European technology in military aeronautics.

German boost in advancing European air defense

In parallel, Germany contributes to the Future Combat Air System (FCAS), together with France and Spain. This project, the flagship of transnational cooperation, aims to revolutionize air defense with the introduction of a cutting-edge manned combat aircraft and its complement of unmanned systems or “remote carriers,” inaugurating a futuristic era in military aeronautics, which will redefine European fleets in the 2040s.

The FCAS, together with the legacy of the Eurofighter Typhoon, encapsulates the ingenuity and innovative capacity of German industry. These programs not only exemplify excellence in engineering and technological development but also promote European defense integration and collaboration, signaling a promising future for the continent’s air sovereignty and security.