29 Mar 2017

UK and France launch future missile technology

The UK and France have signed an agreement with MBDA, which will help strengthen defence cooperation between the two countries and explore missile technology.

Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin and her French counterpart Laurent Collet-Billon signed the agreement with MBDA to begin a three-year concept phase designed to develop future long-range weapons for the British and French Navies and Air Forces. This phase will help to define the missile designs and reduce risks to inform decisions about the next stage of the programme.

With each country contributing €50M to this phase of the project, both sides will benefit from accessing each other’s technology, expertise, trials and test facilities, which in turn will provide cost savings for the tax payer.

Minister of Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin said: “Our relationship with France is strong and enduring. We have a long history of cooperation in defence and security with our European Ally.

“As demonstrated by having Europe’s largest defence budget, the UK is committed to European security and we will continue to collaborate on joint defence programmes across the continent. Today’s agreement will sustain 80 jobs in the UK.”

Délégué Général pour l’Armement Laurent Collet-Billon said: “We are launching today a major new phase in our bilateral cooperation, by planning together a generation of missiles, successor to the Harpoon, SCALP and Storm Shadow. The FC/ASW (future cruise/anti-ship weapon) programme’s aim is to have by around 2030 a new generation of missiles.

“This future capability is strategic, industrially as well as operationally. This new programme will be the backbone of our “one complex weapon” initiative.”

During the 2016 Amiens Summit, the UK and France formally confirmed their intent to launch this project within 12 months. This agreement, which allows the Direction Générale de l’Armement to place the contract with MBDA, illustrates the dynamic nature of UK-France strategic cooperation.

Images: © Crown Copyright

 

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