An Anglo-French collaboration on future anti-ship missile program could be the victim of the fallout between France and the U.K., over the latter's role in Australia's cancellation of a mega contract with France to build submarines.
A meeting between French defense minister Florence Parly and her British counterpart Ben Wallace scheduled for the end of September to discuss continuation of the futur missile antinavire / futur missile de croisière or FMAN / FMC (future anti-ship missile / future cruise missile) programme has been postponed indefinitely, LA Tribune reported Monday.
The programme was launched in 2017 to develop a new generation of deep strike and anti-ship missiles by 2030. It is led by pan-European missile and defense systems manufacturer MBDA. The company announced the successful achievement of the Future Cruise/Anti-Ship Weapon “Key Review” phase, jointly conducted with the British Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) and the French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA) in 2019. It was due to complete Concept Phase activity in July 2021.
The new missile was expected to be compatible with the Mk41 VLS cells of the Royal Navy's Type 26 frigates as well as the Sylver A70 cells of the French Navy. It was being designed to replace the air launched Scalp/Storm Shadow as well as the air and ship launched Exocet and Harpoon anti-ship missiles currently in service with French and British air forces and navies by 2030.
MBDA is also leading another Franco-British project - Complex Weapons Innovation Technology Partnership (CW ITP). In a July 2021 announcement, UK’s Defence Science Technology Laboratory (DSTL) stated that the CW ITP is a major Anglo-French programme for missile research and development and will see MBDA act as prime to coordinate with suppliers in the UK and France on its behalf, as well as the French Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA).