PARIS (Reuters) - France and Germany have reached an agreement to start designing a new generation combat jet, French Defence Minister Florence Parly said on Tuesday.
The jet, due to go into service in 2040, is expected to replace France's Dassault Aviation Rafales and Germany's Eurofighters, made by a European consortium.
Parly said on Twitter that the agreement included a planned prototype launch by the middle of next year.
France had said in June that it will take the lead in the development of the programme.
Germany, France and Spain have completed separate studies on the next generation fighter programme. Spain is considering joining the Franco-German programme, but has also had discussions with a rival project launched by Britain in July.
(Reporting by Bate Felix, Andrea Shalal and John Irish, editing by Ed Osmond)