The UK and France have signed an agreement with missile manufacturing company MBDA for the development of future long-range weapons.
Each country will contribute €50m for the future cruise / anti-ship weapon (FC / ASW) programme that seeks to develop new missile technologies under the new arrangement.
The new technologies will improve and replace the existing naval and air force weapons systems in the UK and France over the next ten years.
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has stated that three-year concept development phase will help to define the missile designs and reduce risks, in order to inform decisions about the next stage of the programme.
French Délégué Général pour l’Armement head 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 future cruise / anti-ship weapon (FC / ASW) programme’s aim is to have a new generation of missiles by around 2030.
“This future capability is strategic, industrially as well as operationally. This new programme will be the backbone of our 'one complex weapon' initiative.”
Both countries first confirmed their intent to launch this project during the Amiens Summit held last year.
The UK-French cooperation already covers a wide range of fields, including research emerging from the partnership on innovation and missile technologies (MCM-ITP), development and production centred on the future air-to-surface guided weapon (FASGW) and the mid-life update programme of the SCALP / Storm Shadow missile systems.
The countries will have access to each other’s national technology expertise, trials and test facilities, in addition to sharing costs.
Image: UK Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin and French counterpart with the French and British project teams from MBDA, including MBDA CEO Antoine Bouvier. Photo: Crown Copyright.