Our Bureau
05:30 PM, March 29, 2017
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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 and France signed an agreement to explore future missile technologies with European missile maker MBDA under €100 million ($108 million) program.

Signed during a visit by Laurent Collet-Billon, head of the French defense procurement office, Direction Générale de l'Armement (DGA) 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, the British defense ministry said March 28. 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. This will help to define the missile designs and reduce risks to inform decisions about the next stage of the programme, the statement said. 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.

The programme was first announced the 2016 Amiens Summit. The agreement allows the Direction Générale de l’Armement to place the contract with MBDA.

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