PARIS - France and Germany agreed Thursday to develop a "new generation" of European fighter jets together that will replace their current fleets, which French President Emmanuel Macron called a "revolution" in their defence relations.
"The two partners hope to finalise a joint roadmap by mid-2018," said a statement from the French presidency after talks between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Macron in Paris.
Fighter jets "were very heavy projects for our armies and our governments," Macron said, saying that a joint European aircraft would help save money and remove competition between different jets currently on the market.
"The aim of this joint fighter jet project is to do research and development together... to use it together.. and to coordinate on exports," Macron added, calling it "a profound revolution."
French forces have begun using the latest generation of the Rafale jet manufactured by French arms maker Dassault, while Germany uses the Eurofighter Typhoon and older British aircraft.
The two sides also agreed to continue cooperation on a major ground combat system as well as in the Eurodrone programme alongside Spain and Italy, the statement said.
They also said they supported the European defence fund, calling it an "important pillar of the integration of the European defence sector".
The fund created by the EU last month, with an annual budget of 5.5 billion euro ($6.1 billion), lays the basis for permanent military cooperation.