France and UK strengthen defence partnership
Paris, 16 December 2016
The Délégué général pour l’armement, Laurent Collet-Billon, and his British counterparts, Minister Harriett Baldwin and the Chief Executive Officer of the DE&S Agency, Tony Douglas, secured further concrete steps in armaments cooperation between France and the United Kingdom during the 27th meeting of the HLWG (*) in Paris on 15 December 2016.
Regarding the Future/Unmanned Combat Air System, Laurent Collet-Billon and Harriett Baldwin identified the necessary stages leading to the contractualization of the FCAS/UCAS combat drone’s demonstration phrase. During the HLWG, an agreement was signed enabling an additional study phase to be initiated lasting 12 months, which will make it possible to refine the concepts to be examined.
Another result of Franco-British industrial cooperation, the 40mm CTA40 cannon also stands out as a product technologically ahead of its competitors. Recognizing that control of weapons systems is one of the keys to meeting costs, deadlines and performance, Laurent Collet-Billon and Tony Douglas signed an agreement enabling future changes in the system to be handled jointly.
On signing an agreement further strengthening Franco-British cooperation in the area of hydrodynamics testing methods, Laurent Collet-Billon and Tony Douglas also welcomed the ongoing cooperation and trustful relationship established between the DGA Techniques Hydrodynamiques centre’s testing facilities in Val-de-Reuil and those of its British counterpart, the Ocean Basin at Haslar, which enable them to design their respective naval systems, including the two nations’ future submarines.
Finally, the co-chairs of the HLWG reiterated their shared desire to broaden the spectrum of Franco-British armaments cooperation, their goal being not only to continue working together on large-scale projects but also to benefit together from the contribution of new technologies whenever appropriate.
Following the HLWG, Laurent Collet-Billon, Délégué général pour l’armement, said:
“The documents we signed today are concrete proof of the strong ties uniting France and the UK in the armaments field. By signing these new agreements, we have set the course for the coming months.
“I most sincerely thank the French and British teams for the huge amount of work they have put in to achieve this result.
“Several milestones in our armaments cooperation lie ahead of us in 2017, which we won’t slacken our efforts for. I’m thinking particularly of the notification of the future anti-ship missile/future cruise missile programme’s design phase in March 2017 and the launch of the FCAS/UCAS programme’s demonstration phase at the end of the year.”
As Harriett Baldwin, Minister for Defence Procurement, said, the FCAS/UCAS project is an “innovative project [which] further strengthens the UK-French defence relationship and supports innovative research on both sides of the Channel.”
“In an uncertain world, working with international partners and allies is more important than ever and I am delighted that our teams, working with British and French industry partners, are making good progress on these ambitious bilateral programmes”./.
(*) The HLWG (High-Level Working Group) is the highest governing body for Franco-British armaments cooperation. It was created by the 2010 Lancaster House Treaty, which establishes, between France and the United Kingdom, defence cooperation which has little, indeed no equal worldwide. The HLWG meets several times a year. It is co-chaired by Laurent Collet-Billon, Délégué général pour l’armement, and Harriett Baldwin, the British Minister for Defence Procurement. Tony Douglas, the head of the UK procurement agency (CEO of DE&S), is also part of this body.