France and Britain strike deal to develop new missiles

AFP - [email protected]
France and Britain strike deal to develop new missiles
Britain and France strike deal to develop new missiles. Photo: AFP / Joel SAGET

France and Britian have signed a deal to jointly develop new cruise and anti-ship missiles, their defence procurement agencies and manufacturer MDBA said Friday, after months of cross-Channel defence tensions over a submarine deal with Australia.


Paris and London "have confirmed the launch of the preparation works for
the Future Cruise / Anti-Ship Weapon," European missile specialist MBDA said
in a statement.

Both Britain's Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) and France's DGA
procurement agency confirmed the three-year contract, which MBDA said aimed to develop weapons "to be fielded at the end of the decade".

MBDA's new weapons, a subsonic stealth variant and a "highly manoeuvrable"
supersonic version, would replace existing missiles in use by the two countries' navies and air forces.

The two countries had been at loggerheads on defence issues since last
year, when Britain and the US struck a deal to produce nuclear-powered
submarines for Australia as Canberra tore up an existing contract with France.


French Defence Minister Florence Parly had said in October that the missile
project was "in difficulties, given the state of our relations with the UK".

But joint British-French missiles have been on the cards since the neighbours
signed the Lancaster House treaty in 2010, solidifying close defence ties.

Britain and France account for 60 percent of European defence spending and
80 percent of defence research and development outlays between them, far
outstripping Germany and keeping London a key military partner for Paris, even
after its departure from the European Union.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also