Harriett Baldwin and her French counterpart have signed an agreement to explore future long range weapons for the British and French Navies and Air Forces.
According to a press release:
“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.”
The agreement begins with a three year concept development phase for long range weaponry for the intended customers.
Both of the participants are expected to contribute about £50 million just for first concept development phase.
Considering the fact that British Navy is retiring its Harpoon AShMs by next year, this is much required but still might take another decade to deliver the products leaving the Royal Navy toothless for quite the time.
Alongside sharing costs, both sides will reportedly benefit from access to each other’s national technology expertise, trials and test facilities.
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.”