MBDA has secured a contract to lead the new Complex Weapons Innovation Technology Partnership (CW ITP), an Anglo-French collaborative programme for missile research and development.

The contract was awarded by France’s Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) and the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), with the latter signing the contract on behalf of the two nations.

As agreed, MBDA will be responsible for coordinating research with major suppliers in the UK and France. The four-year contract is worth up to £40m.

The CW ITP will work to identify and develop new technology to improve complex weapons capability in both nations for the 2030s and beyond.

It will build on the work achieved by the Materials and Components for Missiles Innovation Technology Partnership (MCM ITP) over the last 13 years.

The new framework will primarily focus on five enduring technical areas (ETAs): Materials, Structures and Electronics; Mission Systems and Algorithms; Seekers; Propulsion; and Lethality.

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MBDA will be in charge of Materials, Structures and Electronics, and Mission Systems and Algorithms.

Thales and Leonardo UK will lead for Seekers, while Safran and Roxel UK will be responsible for Propulsion.

Thales UK and CEA (the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission) was selected for Lethality.

CW ITP head Ed Dodwell said: “The importance of CW ITP’s cross defence collaboration is its facility to match up the evolution of ideas with their exploitation. Technology on its own, without a concept for use becomes redundant.

“Concepts that never materialise beyond that are opportunities missed. CW ITP addresses this by having the best experts working together, linking up the technology push of innovation with the market pull of complex weapons.”

MBDA CEO Éric Béranger said: “I am delighted that a new era of the Innovation Technology Partnership is beginning with this contract.

“MCM ITP was an excellent example of Anglo-French co-operation, and the CW ITP will no doubt continue in this endeavour, showcasing that our countries remain committed to working together on future defence technologies.”