NGCAT R&D call 2024

The Council of Ministers has approved the thematic call for research and development proposals in the field of Next Generation Combat Air Technologies (NGCAT).

During a dedicated information session, the DEFRA team will present the objectives, the themes and modalities of the NGCAT R&D call for proposals to researchers from both the public and private sector. You can already register for this networking event.

Themes & budget

More information on the call themes and budget

  Max TRL Indicative budget in M€
Theme 1 - Structures and associated subsystems
6 12 24
Theme 2 - Propulsion and accessories 6 6
Theme 3 - Communication, cyber, avionics, embedded sensors and networks 6 10
Theme 4 - Transversal disruptive enabling technologies 7 8
TOTAL 60 M€    36 24

More information on the call themes...

The projects will have a duration of minimum 24 to maximum 30 months.


Activity Deadline
Information session 7/05/2024 (13h30 – 18h00)
Deadline Expression of Interest 7/06/2024 (14h00)
Communication of eligibility check 28/06/2024
Deadline Full proposals 25/09/2024 (14h00)
Remote evaluation 1 - 30/10/2024
Consensus reporting 4 - 15/11/2024
Feedback to applicants in preparation of panel meeting (consensus reports and questions to applicants) 20/11/2024
Written feedback by applicants (answers) 29/11/2024
Experts Committee evaluation, incl. interviews with the applicants Between 4/12/2024 and 20/12/2024
NGCAT Programme
Selection committee
January 2025
Final selection of proposals by the board of directors of the RHID February 2025
Communication of results to applicants February 2025
Signature of contracts and start of activities March 2025



The Expressions of Interest as well as the full proposals must be electronically created, elaborated and submitted via the online submission platform.

The template for the full proposals is made available on the website. The coordinators of the eligible Expressions of Interest will get access to the online submission platform for the full proposal submission. The templates to be used will be made available on the platform.


  • Expressions of Interest: 7 June 2024 at 14h00
  • Full proposals: 25 September 2024 at 14h00

More information on the call themes

Theme 1: Structures and associated subsystems

Next Generation aircraft platforms (both next generation fighter and remote carrier types) rely on new technologies such as high-precision manufacturing, smart surfaces technologies, light-weight design and manufacturing techniques.
Complete wing like structures and sections will include the electrification of the actuation system for high-lift and control surfaces, ensuring high-performance, lower weight and increased reliability, with health monitoring for predictive maintenance and self-tests, complexity reduction and Line Replaceable Unit/Modules approach for fast replacement. The aerodynamical surfaces will consider smart surfaces technology, with multi-materials, structural health monitoring and damage-tolerant design.
Innovative approaches for thermal management to ensure the complete temperature control of the equipment and body surface temperature control for reduced IR signature and advanced technologies for structural integration of battery packs and active flow control (to support manoeuvring with reduction of the radar signature) are of interest.

Technology focus areas are:

  • Improving low observability (stealth) aspects, including high precision manufacturing techniques;
  • Aerodynamical performances;
  • Energy efficiency & thermal management;
  • Supersonic research related to aerodynamic stability, shock waves and sonic booms;
  • Advanced materials and structural designs, such as composites, high strength steels, hybrid and smart materials;
  • Internal system layout design;
  • External coatings to reduce radar and infrared reflections / emissions;
  • Engineering of innovative system sustainment (Concept & Tooling);
  • Electro-mechanical actuators for high-lift control surfaces;
  • Increasing European technological autonomy.

Theme 2: Propulsion and accessories

Future Integrated Propulsion System will be able to deliver propulsive and non-propulsive energy. For propulsive energy, the challenge is on the one hand to be able to deliver a high thrust for interception missions and on the other hand, to have a low fuel consumption in order to allow endurance flight for loitering missions or extended range for penetration missions. For the non-propulsive energy (mainly electricity produced by electrical generators), the challenge is the ability to deliver variable amount of energy without any impact on the delivery of thrust or the engine’s operability.

Hereafter is a short list of the main coming challenges in propulsion and accessories for which the Belgian industry is in a strong position to bring added value:

  • Variable Cycle Engine: Allowing alternatively high thrust for interception missions and reduced fuel consumption for long mission;
  • Energy consumption: Increasing energetic efficiency and decreasing dry weight;
  • Test capabilities: Be able to test Compressors and critical components in altitude conditions, and thrust vectoring and power extraction on ground test facilities;
  • Thermal Management: higher compactness and increasing electrification will require improved Heat Exchangers.
  • Here are different strains of technology roadmaps for which the Belgian industry is able to bring added value in order to address the challenges defined previously.

Technology focus areas are:

  • System architecture & integration modelling;
  • Advanced high operability, high efficiency compressors;
  • Inspections & repairs advanced technologies;
  • Engine thrust vectoring measurement systems;
  • Test equipment able to capture electrical power and to reinject it afterwards;
  • Thermal Management and associated simulation;
  • Advanced high compactness, high efficiency heat exchangers;
  • Propulsion system miniaturization;
  • Electrification and more electrical equipment;
  • Increasing European technological autonomy.

Theme 3: Communication, cyber, avionics, embedded sensors and networks

Cloud Combat and C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) are critical domains in the modern battlefield. In recent years, advances in technology have led to the development of Cloud Combat Platforms, which are designed to enhance the situational awareness and decision-making capabilities of military personnel. These platforms leverage cloud computing, big data, distributed computing, advanced communications, and autonomous and collaborative operations to provide real-time insights and analysis.
In today's interconnected world, the aviation industry is experiencing rapid technological advancements aimed at enhancing efficiency, safety and situational awareness. However, this progress also brings forth a myriad of challenges in fields such as cybersecurity, communication, on-board computing power, big-data management, sensor fusion, visualization technologies etc. In an interconnected environment with multiple manned and unmanned assets, enhanced manned-unmanned teaming is paramount to operational success.
As the boundaries between the digital and physical world blur, the need to prioritize and strengthen cybersecurity in aviation becomes paramount. Next-generation combat aircraft technologies are continuously evolving to meet the increasing demands of modern warfare. Nonetheless, these advancements also introduce new cybersecurity challenges that must be addressed to ensure the safety, reliability, and effectiveness of these systems.

Technology focus areas are:

  • Design, Development, Manufacturing and Qualification of Avionics, Sensors and Effectors;
  • Integration of Systems;
  • Large, redundant avionic display devices;
  • Airborne Computers able to cope with the increased demand for computing power, big data handling etc;
  • Information Systems and Complex Computing Solutions;
  • Airborne and Ground Communications, including cyber;
  • Electro-Optical and Infrared Systems, with focus on miniaturization and cost-reduction;
  • Enhanced Computer Vision;
  • Effectors and related technologies;
  • Enhanced pilot interfaces and interaction for high performance cockpits;
  • Increasing European technological autonomy.

Theme 4: Transversal disruptive enabling technologies

Transversal disruptive technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, Advanced Materials, Internet of Things (IoT), Additive Manufacturing, Energy Management, along with Advanced Modelling, Digital Twins and Digital Threads, Cloud Computing and Big Data Analytics, are revolutionizing all the subdomains of Structures and Subsystems, Propulsion and Accessories, and Communication, Cyber, Avionics, and Networks in the defence and aviation sectors. These technologies enable smarter, more efficient, and secure operations, enhancing everything from design, engineering, manufacturing and in service support and are essential for increasing European technological autonomy.

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