Press Statement
(Source: French Ministry of Defence; issued July 24, 2012)
(Issued in French only; unofficial translation by defense-aerospace.com)
PARIS --- On July 24, 2012, the Minister of Defence, Jean-Yves Le Drian and his British counterpart, Philip Hammon, met in London to instill a new impetus to the Lancaster House agreements, which were signed in 2010. This was the second time the ministers have met since Mr Le Drian took office, after a first working meeting during the NATO summit in Chicago, on May 20-21, 2012. This initial visit by the French Minister of Defence follows a fruitful meeting, on July 10, between President François Hollande and Prime Minister David Cameron, and reinforces the unprecedented cooperation between our two countries.

The ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the Treaties linking the two countries, convinced that cooperation is crucial at a time when defence budgets are constrained. Greater interoperability between the British and French armed forces would reinforce the quality of the French-British partnership, whether in terms of bilateral relations, within the European Union, or the Alliances.

Messrs. Le Drian and Hammond committed to reinforce their defense relations, and welcomed the signature of two major framework agreements (MoUs) by Peter Muff, the British Minister for Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S), and Laurent Collet-Billon, director-general of armaments (DGA), thereby taking a further step in French-British cooperation in the field of drones.

The first agreement launches the initial phase of the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) demonstrator programme.

The second concerns cooperation on the Watchkeeper tactical drone.

In parallel, regarding the unmanned aircraft vehicle sector, the Ministers also discussed possible military cooperation between specialised units that operate the same systems.

Ministers have taken note of the progress in our cooperation in the nuclear field, and saluted the ongoing work to establish a Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF), as well as the Corsican Lion exercise, which will take place in October 2012. The two ministers also agreed to meet again, in France, on this occasion.

They discussed current threats and strategic challenges, including Afghanistan, the Middle East and the Sahel. Mr Hammond also saluted the presence of a British member, Mr Paul Ricketts, in the committee preparing the White Paper on defense and national security. This British participation will reinforce our strategic dialogue. They also agreed on the need for more effective European military capabilities at a time of financial restrictions, the reform of NATO, and the development of a European defence.

France and the United Kingdom are determined to open the road to European cooperation so as to respond to future capability requirements. The Ministers agreed that cooperation of specific programs could include other close allies, having similar capabilities and contributions, as soon as it becomes feasible and opportune. (ends)



UK and France Reinforce Defence Cooperation
(Source: UK Ministry of Defence; issued July 25, 2012)
On 24 July 2012 Rt Hon. Philip Hammond MP, UK Secretary of State for Defence and Jean-Yves Le Drian, French Minister for Defence, met in London where they reviewed progress made under the Lancaster House Treaties of 2010. Ministers met for the second time since M. Le Drian took office, after their first working meeting at the NATO Summit in Chicago. The first visit of the new French Defense Minister followed up the fruitful meeting between Prime Minister Cameron and President Hollande on July 10th, and reinforces the unprecedented level of defence cooperation between our two countries.

Both Ministers stressed their commitment to the Treaties, agreeing that cooperation is essential at a time when defence budgets are under pressure. Greater military interoperability between French and British Armed Forces would make both UK and France more valuable partners, both bilaterally, within the European Union and in Alliances.

Mr Hammond and M. Le Drian committed themselves to strengthening their defence relationship further and welcomed in particular the signature of two important Memoranda of Understanding by Peter Luff MP, the UK Minister for Defence Equipment Support and Technology and Laurent Collet-Billon, Délégué Général pour l’Armement, marking a new positive step in Franco-British cooperation on Unmanned Air Systems:

One MoU represents the first phase of a demonstration programme for a Future Combat Air System (FCAS);

The other was signed to enable cooperation on the Watchkeeper Tactical UAS. In this field of UAS the Ministers also discussed the potential for military cooperation between specialised units of the two armies using the same systems.

The Ministers took stock of progress in our nuclear cooperation and warmly welcomed the on-going work on the UK-France Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF) and Exercise CORSICAN LION to be held in October 2012. The two Ministers agreed to meet again in France on the occasion of this exercise.

They discussed on-going strategic threats and challenges, including Afghanistan, the Middle East and Sahel. Mr Hammond also welcomed the involvement of Sir Peter Ricketts as a UK member of the French White Paper (Livre Blanc) Commission on National Security and Defense, as a way to strengthen our dialogue on the strategic context, and the need for more effective European military capabilities in a time of financial constraint, NATO and its reform, and the development of European Defence.

The UK and France are determined to set the pace in Europe for co-operation to deliver their future capability requirements and the Ministers agreed that cooperation on specific programmes may include other close allies with similar capability and contribution, when practicable and feasible.

Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond MP, said:

“I am delighted that M. Le Drian has agreed to further cooperation on Watchkeeper. It marks a major step towards delivering the next generation of military capability, launching our formal cooperation on the Future Combat Aerial System. Both parties remain focussed on delivering the commitments made at Lancaster House. Excellent progress has been made on UAVs, Nuclear matter and Combined Joint Expeditionary Force.

“These agreements represent more than just joint commitments. They represent a joint understanding of the threats we are likely to meet in the future, the character of warfare we are likely to undertake and the capabilities required to succeed on tomorrow’s battlefield. We are putting into effect the lessons from our joint experience in Afghanistan and Libya, recognising unmanned aerial systems as a future key capability requirement. We will work closely with industry to support France’s evaluation of what we believe is a vital system that will improve interoperability and provide opportunities to save money.

“France is the UK’s primary European defence and security partner and our co-operation is as natural as it is necessary. We will continue to draw on each others’ strengths and respective investments to get the best possible support for our Armed Forces. Only by acting together can we ensure that the threats that we both face are mitigated and that national security is protected.”

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