France and UK working closely together on defence
Defence – United Kingdom/the Délégué général pour l’armement meets his British counterpart in the framework of the Lancaster House treaty – Communiqué issued by the Ministry for the Armed Forces
Paris, 30 March 2018
The Délégué général pour l’armement, Joël Barre, had a meeting on 29 March 2018 with his British counterpart, Minister for Defence Procurement Guto Bebb, for the 29th High Level Working Group.
The meeting, organized in the framework of the Lancaster House treaty, follows the Franco-British summit of 18 January 2018 between President Macron and Prime Minister Theresa May. The discussion came after the [French] Military Estimates Bill was submitted to Parliament and as the Defence Modernization Programme is under way on the British side.
M. Barre and Mr Bebb reviewed the many programmes on which France and the UK are cooperating at present, as well as potential subjects of interest. More specifically, in accordance with the guidelines set at the Sandhurst summit, M. Barre and Mr Bebb agreed on the broad lines of the new phase of technological work to be conducted as part of the Future Combat Air System programme.
A detailed review of the One Complex Weapons initiative was carried out. The Délégué général pour l’armement and the Minister for Defence Procurement especially welcomed the fact that MBDA had successfully completed the first contractual stage of the FMAN-FMC concept phase.
Our joint mine warfare programme was also discussed at the meeting; it develops an autonomous system to the highest global standard, while offering interesting prospects for export.
New areas of capability cooperation were also identified for more detailed analysis.
The results of the meeting will help prepare for the first Franco-British ministerial defence council, established at the recent summit.
Joël Barre, the Délégué général pour l’armement, declared that:
“In accordance with the orientations defined in the Strategic Review, the Military Estimates Bill proposes an unprecedented defence effort. Besides speeding up the modernization of our conventional equipment and launching the renewal of the two components of France’s nuclear deterrent, it also aims to consolidate European cooperation in equipment programmes.
“With this in mind, and driven by a shared determination renewed by the Sandhurst agreement, that we are working with the UK to jointly develop the systems that will enable our armed forces to meet the challenges of tomorrow.”
The Defence Procurement Minister said:
“France remains our most important European defence partner. Our unique relationship in security and defence has lasted more than a century. We continue to work closely to deliver the best equipment to our forces in land, sea, air, space and cyber. In a world of growing global threats, we are working together to ensure the continued security of Europe and our common allies.”
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 defence cooperation between France and the United Kingdom which has little, indeed no equal worldwide. The HLWG meets several times a year. It is co-chaired by Joël Barre, Délégué général pour l’armement, and Guto Bebb, the British Minister for Defence Procurement.
The One Complex Weapons initiative covers a broad spectrum of joint missile projects, including the concept phase for the Future Cruise/Anti-Ship Weapon, the helicopter-launched Light Anti-Ship Missile project, initiated at the 2014 Franco-British summit in Brize Norton and currently undergoing tests, the upgrade of the ASTER anti-air missile and mid-life refurbishment of the SCALP/Storm Shadow cruise missile. One Complex Weapons also covers MBDA’s development of centres of excellence in France and the UK./.