Europe’s Next Generation Combat System

A Leopard 2 A7 tank drives across the training grounds of the German Bundeswehr.
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Europe’s Next Generation Combat System

Former competitors are now collaborating against their new archenemy: the U.S.A. Should you be concerned?

Europe’s call for a European army raises various questions: How powerful would such an army be? What weaponry would it use? Would it be in support of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization? Or work against it? And finally, which nation would spearhead the endeavor: France or Germany?

The answer to these questions can already be seen in Europe’s arms industry.

The European Union’s joint military budget is already three times higher than Russia’s budget and approximately half of the United States’. And at this critical moment in history, Russia and the U.S. are being forced to make dramatic military cuts while Europe is boosting its spending.

However, Europe’s military capacity faces one major challenge: a lack of unity. Instead of joining forces in producing the best of the best, European countries have so far produced their own individual weapons systems and duplicated much of the efforts of other European countries. No sovereign European army can stand unless this changes.

In response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s demand for Europe to increase its military budget, French President Emmanuel Macron said, “[W]hat I don’t want to see is European countries increasing the budget in defense in order to buy Americans’ and other arms or materials coming from your industry. I think if we increase our budget, it’s to have to build our autonomy and to become an actual sovereign power.”

The key to gaining independence from America and to create a successful European army is to fuse Europe’s military industry. German and French industries have already designed the future generation of European tanks, jets and artillery, but the political will and structure so far has been lacking. This barrier is now breaking down, and as it does, the world’s future weaponry is destined to be made in Europe. Europe has not only the industry but also the growing economy to rise above competitors.

European Super Tank

The Russian T-14 tank is currently one of the most feared tanks in the world. Its increased firepower is unmatched compared to nato competitors. But competition is coming. British military expert Nicolas Drummond told German newsmagazine Stern:

Of course, Russia’s track record in tank development is very impressive. But no country has more experience and competence than Germany. I assume that if the Germans start with the “Leopard iii”, it will be over quickly with the advantage of the T-14.

Germany’s main battle tank is currently the Leopard 2. This tank is part of the armed forces of 16 countries. As of January 2018, more than 3,500 Leopard 2 tanks are in use around the world. The Leopard 3 main battle tank, or main ground combat system, is set to replace existing stocks by 2030.

The new tank is already predicted to become the world’s most powerful tank. To make the visionary project a reality, France and Germany are jointly producing the new European main battle tank (embt). The French-German joint venture is called knds (kmw+Nexter Defense Systems), combining the names of both manufacturers.

The arms manufacturer has allowed only limited insight into joint production, advances and specific plans for the super tank. But its zeal to move the project forward is evident by the fact that within 15 months of the initial talks, the first model was combat ready. The tank is “proof that kmw and Nexter have established a first significant joint knds product in record time,” company officials wrote in a statement. The tank was presented this past summer at the Eurosatory 2018.

The 2018 Eurosatory Daily reported on June 15 that “the embt demonstrates that their combined skills make it the legitimate and essential industrial actor of the two key French-German future programmers.” The tank combines the strength of Germany’s Leopard 2 and France’s Leclerc and is already seen as more powerful than either one individually. The new tank is lighter than the Leopard 2 and can be operated by only two crew members compared to the usual three. The lighter weight means it has the advantage of customizing up to six tons of additional equipment.

But the first model is not meant for production in either Germany or France. The manufacturers plan to first export the tank for use in foreign armies that can more easily adapt to the new system. According to French media reports, Italy has already expressed interest. It is hoped that later upgraded versions will replace tanks in many more European countries.

Europe’s new super tank will in the future also be equipped with a more powerful 130-millimeter cannon. Rheinmetall has already presented the new model, Stern reported on June 15: “The previous tank cannons from Rheinmetall used the caliber 120 millimeters. … The barrel length of the new weapon should be 51 times the caliber. The whole system with the shutter should weigh three tons, the pipe alone 1,400 kilograms. Overall, the performance will be 50 percent higher than that of the 120-millimeter cannon.” With the new cannon, the tank will be able to face off Russia’s T-14.

Beyond a main battle tank, Germany and France have begun work on a future artillery system called the Common Indirect Fire System. France and Germany expect more European countries to join Europe’s future arms projects.

One might wonder how in peacetime, Germany and France are able to improve and upgrade world-class military equipment. The answer reveals the secret of German industrial ingenuity of the last decades. Instead of stocking up its own storehouses with weaponry that later need essential upgrades, Europe exports its weapons as a trial run to later work with proven weaponry.

The same is true of Europe’s new generation of tanks. Through exports, both Germany’s and France’s tanks have proved their capabilities in terrains around the world and received various upgrades over the years. Based on that data, the two arms manufacturers were able to combine the proven qualities of both tanks in one super tank. But instead of immediately arming itself with the new tank, as Russia tried to do with its T-14, Europe sells the tank first and arms itself later with an upgraded version.

A previous German-French joint venture has already proved to be successful: The creation of the Eurocopter Tiger (EC 665) that was produced through German-French cooperation is today viewed as one of the most powerful attack helicopters in the world. But their cooperation goes beyond tanks and helicopters. The greatest European project of the imminent future will dominate the sky.

The Most Modern Aircraft System

Last summer Germany and France cohosted for the first time the International Aerospace Exhibition ila in Berlin. The German and French aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Dassault Aviation signed a landmark agreement “to secure European sovereignty and technological leadership in the military aviation sector for the coming decades.”

“The two companies decided to join forces in the development and production of the next-generation fighters,” said Dassault ceo Eric Trappier and Airbus armaments director Dirk Hoke at the launch of the ila aviation exhibition in Berlin.

“We want strategic autonomy for Europe,” said Trappier. New fighter jets are planned to complement and eventually replace the Eurofighter and Rafale fighter jets by 2035 or 2040. The company heads have long anticipated the next steps from the political side, according to Trappier, who said, “We say to our defense ministers, our political leaders: We are ready.” If the cooperation succeeds, the future jet is predicted to outperform the U.S.’s F-35 fighter jet.

But the planned new fighter aircraft is only part of France and Germany’s plan of a joint Future Combat Air System (fcas). Trappier commented:

I am convinced that European sovereignty and strategic autonomy can and will only be ensured through independent European solutions. The vision that France and Germany have set forth with fcas is a bold one and it’s an important signal in, and for, Europe. The fcas program will strengthen the political and military ties between Europe’s core nations and it will reinvigorate its aerospace industry.

German newspaper Handelsblatt wrote on November 6, “Germany and France plan to develop the most advanced air defense system in the world. … The joint armament is a declaration of war against the United States, because they have already sold several European countries their modern F-35” (Trumpet translation throughout; emphasis added). Airbus explained the purpose of fcas:

By connecting a range of manned and unmanned platforms, the Future Combat Air System can help secure European sovereignty and technological leadership in the military aviation sector.

In the past, combat pilots had to do a lot of things by themselves. But times are changing: future air power will be based on a network of intelligent, connected platforms, delivering highly accurate, real-time information.

Swarms of drones, fighter jets, cargo aircraft, satellites connected through artificial intelligence armed with laser weaponry—that’s the visionary concept of fcas. The “system of systems” as Airbus writes, will connect “manned and unmanned air platforms, including a next-generation fighter aircraft, Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (uavs), the existing fleet of aircraft such as the A400M and Eurofighter, future cruise missiles, and combat drones flying in swarms.”

This new weapon technology enables a large variety of aircraft to fly in united swarms, detect enemy lines, and lead coordinated large-scale attacks.

It could be that the Apostle John described these flying swarms in his end-time vision recorded in Revelation 9. As we wrote in the January 2011 Trumpet magazine, John used “the symbolic term of locusts to describe the terrifying war machines that would be invented by scientists and used by the military in this final world conflict! Notice that these symbolic locusts, or grasshoppers, are driven by men and are able to fly (verses 7, 9). They will make a tremendous noise and are protected by armored plating.”

We are now gaining a glimpse into what the Apostle John saw in vision but struggled to describe due to a lack of terminology.

Airbus explained why Europe’s arms industries are joining forces: “The global environment is increasingly unpredictable, as are challenges to security.” In other words, with President Donald Trump leading the U.S. and thus nato, Europe can no longer trust the security agreements of old and must take matters into its own hands. In this endeavor, Airbus, which ranks as the second-largest aircraft producer, is ambitious in setting goals for the most modern system of the world, “developing the next generation of capabilities.”

Though fcas will be integrated in part over the next few years, the whole system is planned to be fully implemented and replace old systems between 2035 and 2040.

French and German Rivalry Prophesied

Though Germany’s and France’s industries are ready to produce, the breakthrough has been lagging. Handelsblatt Global commented:

Perhaps nothing represents the Franco-German ambition to free Europe from dependence on the United States more than the joint project to develop a new fighter jet as part of a comprehensive combat air system.

Simultaneously, nothing represents exactly why Europe won’t win that independence any time soon more than the political and commercial squabbles that have beset the program before it even begins.

The two nations are competing about who will take the leading role.

New German-French Fighter Jet Can Now Be Built,” Deutsche Welle reported in April. “Germany and France have sealed the development of a joint fighter to replace the Eurofighter and the Rafale jet. With the project they want to stand up to the American competitors.” French Defense Minister Florence Parly said, “There has been a lot of talk in the past about our own European strategy, and this agreement gives us a face to this strategy.”

But after the deal was signed, a quarrel broke out, again. Neither industry wants to lose out in the super deal. France is especially afraid that German industry would benefit most from the deals. France always desires to take the leading role in Europe’s military advances, but cooperating means compromising. Macron’s bold stance for an independent European army has left him with no choice but to enter a deal with the devil: German industry.

The defense ministries of both countries have now agreed on how the common projects will move forward. Germany will take over the leadership of the production of the new European tank that involves the German companies Rheinmetall and kmw and the French Nexter. France will take over the leadership of the new fighter aircraft that involves Dassault and Airbus. Germany will lead a European drone program and the helicopter upgrade program, while France will head the development of a new battlefield missile system. The value of future joint European projects is estimated to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars and will soon include many more European arms manufacturers.

While the rivals have now agreed on a compromise giving them both “leading positions,” expect to see Germany remain as the sole leader. We make this prediction because this outcome is prophesied in the Bible.

In Daniel 2, the last human kingdom to govern this world prior to the return of Jesus Christ is represented as a mixture of miry clay and iron. Inspired by God, Daniel explained in verse 42: “And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.” The prophecy refers to 10 nations that unite as a military superpower that rules this world for a short time, only to be destroyed and consumed by Christ at His return. This superpower is led by Germany with France playing second fiddle. Due to European rivalries and mixtures of different peoples, the greatest weakness of this military superpower is its lack of unity.

In his book The United States and Britain in Prophecy, the late theologian and founder of the Worldwide Church of God Herbert W. Armstrong explained the biblical identity of modern France. The French today are the descendants of Reuben, a tribe of ancient Israel.

Reuben was Jacob’s firstborn son, but due to his gross misconduct, he was denied the leadership role in Israel. One of Reuben’s grievous mistakes was that he betrayed his brother Joseph. Genesis 49 puts these events into an end-time context (verse 1). The Bible foretells that right before Christ returns, France will again turn against Joseph’s descendants, namely the U.S. and Britain. To learn more about this remarkable prophecy, watch the video below by Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry and request a free copy of The United States and Britain in Prophecy.

Though Reuben lost his birthright, modern France still seeks to play a leading role in the world. Beaten in two world wars, France had to be saved by the U.S. and Great Britain. But rather than expressing gratitude, France is betraying its brothers just like Reuben betrayed Joseph. During World War ii, we saw a glimpse of that betrayal when some leading French officers collaborated with Germany rather than the Allied forces. But this glimpse is nothing compared to what we will see in this end time.

France will soon cooperate on a large scale with Germany to overthrow British and American dominance. France no longer wants to be the victim of another German empire to then be saved by its brothers. Instead, France joins the enemy to the detriment of the U.S. and Britain. Read “France Is Betraying America, and Fulfilling Bible Prophecy!” to learn more about how France and America’s rivalry will end.

France still hopes to lead Europe, but Bible prophecy foretells it will fall far short of that dream. Germany’s industrial might and economic strength exceed France’s by about 30 to 40 percent. Moreover Germany’s arms industry has been self-sufficient since the end of the Cold War, while France’s industry has relied on state funding. Once Germany restarts its arms industry, France will have to watch from the sidelines or join Germany’s plan of world dominance.

Notice how the Daniel 2 prophecy ends: “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed …” (verse 44). “These kings” refers to 10 kings currently rising in Europe. Macron might be one of them and Germany’s king is imminent. But whoever these leaders are that lead this final European superpower, they will unite only for a short time and their reign will end with the return of Jesus Christ. To learn more about these stunning prophecies, request a free copy of our reprint article “Germany—A New King Is Imminent.”