The British and French Governments have signed an agreement to work on the feasibility phase of a new unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) currently planned to be jointly developed by the two countries.
The £120m two-year feasibility phase is a follow-on of the Future Combat Air System Demonstration Programme.
Signed at the ongoing Farnborough International Air Show, the agreement is a development over the communique signed by UK Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande in January.
The feasibility study will be undertaken by six industry partners, BAE Systems, Dassault Aviation, Rolls-Royce, Safran, Selex and Thales, which will explore new concepts and technologies for the UCAV.
UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said: "The UK and France are committed to delivering effective military capabilities underpinned by cutting-edge technology, developed by strong and capable defence industries.
"This relationship is essential to how we will operate in the future, by ensuring we can deal with the global defence and security challenges we and our allies may face."
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The two sides have also signed a memorandum of understanding with MBDA for the Scalp / Storm Shadow air-launched cruise missile programme.
France Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said: "With continuation of development of cruise missile Scalp / Storm Shadow, after signature of the FASGW(H)/ANL contract previously this year, the two nations demonstrated their commitment to sustain the cross-frontier complex weapons industry through interdependence for missile sub-systems and secure significant efficiencies on future programmes."
Image: French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian shakes hands with UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond at the Farnborough Air Show in UK. Photo: Sergeant Ralph Merry ABIPP RAF, © Crown.