UK and France Strengthen Defence Cooperation with New Weapon System Agreement
(Source: UK Ministry of Defence; issued March 28, 2017)
Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin and her French counterpart Laurent Collet-Billon with the French and British project teams from MBDA, including Antoine Bouvier, CEO of MBDA (center). (UK MoD photo
Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin and her French counterpart Laurent Collet-Billon today sign an agreement to explore future missile technologies with MBDA

Signed during a visit by M. Collet-Billon to the Ministry of Defence, the agreement begins a three-year concept phase to develop future long range weapons for the British and French Navies and Air Forces. Each country will contribute €50 million to this phase.

The Future Cruise/Anti-Ship Weapon programme will look at options to replace and improve existing Naval and Air Force weapons systems in the next decade. Lasting up to three years, this will help to define the missile designs and reduce risks to inform decisions about the next stage of the programme

Alongside sharing costs, both sides will benefit from access to each other’s national technology expertise, trials and test facilities.

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.”

The agreement is a further example of joint work under the Lancaster House Treaty of 2010 and builds on UK and French similarities in missile capabilities and delivery dates, providing significant efficiencies and securing value for money for the taxpayer.

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.

UK-French cooperation already covers a wide range of fields beyond the FC/ASW programme, including research emerging from the partnership on innovation and missile technologies (MCM-ITP), work to align our capability plans, 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. This new project further strengthens MBDA’s industrial optimisation building on their new Centres of Excellence.

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Franco-British Cooperation: France and UK Strengthen Defense Cooperation Through Missile Agreement
(Source: French Defence Procurement Agency, DGA; issued March 28, 2017)
(Issued in French; unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
PARIS --- The Director-General of Armaments, Laurent Collet-Billon, and his British counterpart, Defense Procurement Minister Harriett Baldwin, today signed an agreement on the study of future missile technologies by MBDA.

Signed on the occasion of Mr Collet-Billon's visit to the British Ministry of Defense, the agreement triggers a three-year phase of preparatory studies for the development of future long-range missiles that will equip the navies and air forces of both countries. Each Nation will contribute € 50 million to this study.

The FMAN / FMC (Future Missile Antinavires / Future Missile de Croisière) program will explore options for replacing and upgrading the missile systems used by the Navy and the Air Force over the next decade. For up to three years, this work will help define missile architectures and reduce risks, so as to support decisions to launch the next phase of the program.

Beyond cost sharing, the two nations will benefit from reciprocal access to their technological expertise and to their test and trials facilities.

Director-General of Armaments Laurent Collet-Billon, said: "Today we are launching another major step in our bilateral cooperation by jointly preparing a family of successor missiles for our Exocet, Harpoon, SCALP and Storm Shadow missiles. The goal of the FMAN / FMC (Future Missile Antinavires / Future Cruise Missile) program is to have a new joint generation of missiles in service by the 2030s."

"This future capability is strategic, both industrially and operationally. This new program will be structured for our One Complex Weapon initiative. "

Defense Procurement Minister Harriett Baldwin said: "Our relationship with France remains strong and constant. We share with our European ally a long-term cooperation in the field of defense and security. "

"The fact that we have the highest defense budget in Europe is proof of this, the United Kingdom is committed to European security and we will continue to cooperate on joint defense programs with our partners on the continent. The agreement signed today will help maintain 80 jobs in the UK. "

This agreement is a further example of the joint work under the Lancaster House Treaty of 2010, and is based on capacity requirements and similar delivery schedules between France and the United Kingdom. It will provide efficiencies and help optimize public spending.

On the sidelines of the Summit of Amiens on 3 March 2016, the French and British Defense Ministers formally confirmed their intention to launch this program within 12 months. The signature of today’s agreement, which authorizes the award of the contract to MBDA by the Directorate General of Armaments, demonstrates the dynamism of the strategic cooperation between France and the United Kingdom.

Franco-British cooperation already covers a broad spectrum beyond the WMN / FMC program: research, with the partnership on innovation and missile technologies (MCM-ITP), alignment of our capacities roadmaps, and further development and production, with the ANL and the mid-life modernization of SCALP / Storm Shadow family. This new program reinforces the strategy of industrial rationalization led by MBDA which is based on the creation of their Centers of Excellence.

Background Note

- On 2 November 2010 at Lancaster House, France and the United Kingdom signed two cooperation treaties: one on defense and security and the other on nuclear cooperation. They constituted a historic commitment to build a long-term partnership in these areas.

- Our bilateral cooperation armament is steered by the "High Level Working Group", institutionalized by the Treaty of Lancaster House. It is co-chaired by the General Delegate for Armaments and Minister for Defense Procurement Harriet Baldwin. It covers a wide spectrum of domains, be they capabilities, technologies, or relating to our technical expertise.

- Since the signing of the Treaty of Lancaster 2010, cooperation between France and the United Kingdom has not stopped. A number of achievements have resulted in a strategic bilateral relationship.

- In the field of missiles, the two nations are implementing a common strategy "one complex weapon" aimed at strengthening our common industrial base around MBDA, and developing all the technological, industrial or capabilities synergies in this highly sensitive field.

- Achievements since 2010 included the launch in March 2014 of the joint ANL / FASGW (H) missile program and the launch of work on the renovation of SCALP / Storm Shadow missiles in February.

- In the field of technology, mention should also be made of the Joint Technology and Innovation and Technology Partnership (MCM-ITP) program.

- An additional milestone was reached on 12 October 2016 with the entry into force of an intergovernmental agreement, which provides for the creation of "Centers of Excellence" within MBDA.

- MBDA's Centers of Excellence are designed to streamline MBDA and MBDA-UK and MBDA entities in selected areas of missile technology. In some cases, they will lead to voluntary but balanced abandonment of national industrial capacities (with their specialization in one country or the other), both in terms of development and production.

- The replacement of our future cruise missile and anti-ship missile has been identified since 2011 as a subject of capability cooperation. The Declaration of Intent signed by the French and British Defense Ministers on the sidelines of the Amiens Summit confirmed on 3 March 2016 our intention to pursue this cooperation and set a common goal of undertaking a common concept study.

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France and the UK Launch Next-Generation Strike Missile Project with MBDA
(Source: MBDA; issued March 28, 2017)
Today in London, the United Kingdom and France have signed an agreement to launch a joint concept phase of the Future Cruise / Anti-Ship Weapon (FC/ASW) programme with MBDA. The agreement was signed by Laurent Collet-Billon, head of France’s Defence Procurement Agency (DGA - Direction générale de l’armement), and Harriet Baldwin, UK Minister of Defence Procurement.

Running for up to three years, the aim of the concept phase is to lay the ground work and inform the UK and France’s decision making and requirements for a potential follow on assessment and demonstration phase of the next generation of cruise and anti-ship missiles, with a planned operational capability to be achieved by the end of the next decade.

Valued at 100 M€, work on the FC/ASW concept phase will be split 50/50 in terms of both quantity and quality of content between the UK and France. The effort will see MBDA mature systems and technologies that will increase the survivability, range and lethality of anti-ship and deep strike missiles launched by both air and naval combat platforms. The DGA will act as the contract authority for the concept phase with MBDA.

Equally funded by France and the UK, the FC/ASW programme is a product of the very close Anglo-French defence relationship set out by the Lancaster House treaties. The FC/ASW Concept Phase is the latest step in the two countries’ highly successful collaboration on missile technologies through MBDA.

This joint work has allowed the two countries to develop a range of world-class missile systems, such as Storm Shadow/SCALP, Meteor, Aster, and Sea Venom/ANL; to rationalise the development and production of missiles through the ‘OneMBDA’ organisation; and to harmonise the research and technology efforts of both nations across their entire missile industrial sector through the MCM-ITP (Missile Components and Materials – Innovation and Technology Partnership) programme.

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.”

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 Exocet, 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 Weapons” initiative.”

Welcoming the news, Antoine Bouvier, CEO of MBDA, said: “This agreement secures the strategic autonomy of France and UK’s deep strike capabilities for the future. After the ratification last year of the Anglo-French agreement authorising us to operate OneMBDA centres of excellence, the FC/ASW project opens the next page of MBDA’s European strategy. Through this strategy, we aim to work in even closer partnership with our domestic military customers in order to converge their requirements, while streamlining our own industrial processes across borders.

Only this form of co-operation will allow European industry to continue delivering exceptional products and sustain the long-term critical mass needed to keep providing Europe with independent access to key sovereign technologies.”

Dave Armstrong, Managing Director of MBDA UK and Group Director of Sales and Business Development, added: “FC/ASW represents the future of deep strike capability in Europe. The programme is of strategic importance to MBDA, who will lead a team gathering industrial champions from both nations, and will ensure that the UK and France remain at the cutting edge of missile technologies well into the future.”

Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin and her French counterpart Laurent Collet-Billon today signed an agreement to explore future missile technologies with MBDA.

About FC/ASW

The concept phase of the FC/ASW programme aims at identifying solutions for the replacement of the two countries’ Storm Shadow/SCALP cruise missiles, France’s Exocet and the UK’s Harpoon anti-ship missiles. The concept phase builds on a previous joint study phase initiated by both nations in 2011.

In 2015 and 2016, the UK and France respectively ratified an inter-government agreement to allow MBDA to specialise its industrial capabilities across both countries in centres of excellence. These centres of excellence focus on key sovereign technologies and enable MBDA to achieve efficiencies that cannot be met when working within national boundaries.


With a significant presence in five European countries and within the USA, in 2015 MBDA achieved a turnover of € 3 billion with an order book of € 15.9 billion. With more than 90 armed forces customers in the world, MBDA is a world leader in missiles and missile systems. MBDA is owned jointly by Airbus Group (37.5%), BAE Systems (37.5%), and Leonardo (25%).

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