French Defence Minister Jean- Yves Le Drian and his British counterpart Phillip Hammond on Friday signed agreements for the immediate launch of several major Franco-British cooperative defense programs during the Franco-British summit.
The ministers signed a Letter of Intent to launch a new phase of work in the field of combat drones.
This work will focus on system architectures, selected key technologies and the definition of simulation means. France and the United Kingdom will jointly commit up to £ 120M (€ 145M) on this program which will last two years, according to an official statement.
The agreement builds on the preparatory phase decided in July 2012 and which involved Dassault Aviation and BAE Systems as project leaders, Thales and Selex ES for embedded electronics and sensors, as well as Safran and Rolls-Royce for propulsion.
A Memorandum of Understanding for the launch of the development phase and the production of the Anti-Navires Léger (ANL) missile was also agreed upon.
The ANL provides helicopters with a missile capacity to destroy the fast patrol boats and other small vessels, in crisis situations or for operations against piracy, drug trafficking or terrorism at sea. This joint development will be critical to support the consolidation of Franco-British missile industry under the aegis of MBDA and its subcontractors.
Another Memorandum of Understanding to initiate the development of prototype unmanned surface and underwater vehicles to detect and neutralize naval mines on the seabed was signed by the two ministers.
This system is part of the cooperation project in mine warfare "Maritime Mine Counter Measures (MMCM)." In addition to its operational challenges, this project will enable the development of industrial know-how in the fields of submarine detection and of robotics.