Franco-UK missile cooperation report published

Publication by the National Assembly and the House of Commons of a joint report on next-generation anti-ship missiles

On 12 December 2018, the National Assembly and House of Commons defence committees published a joint report on Franco-British missile cooperation and, in particular, next-generation anti-ship missiles.

The relevant work was commissioned by the chairs of the French and British defence committees, Jean-Jacques Bridey and Julian Lewis.

The mission itself was jointly led by Julian Lewis, Natalia Pouzyreff and Charles de la Verpillière. It provided an opportunity to formally question several figures at plenary sessions held in London and Paris in the summer of 2018.

The French Ambassador in London, Jean-Pierre Jouyet, hosted a meeting with the French deputies during their visit to London, to discuss with them political, defence and industrial cooperation issues between France and the United Kingdom.

The Lancaster House agreements of 2010 and the intergovernmental “One MBDA” agreement of 2016 opted to rationalize the missile industry sector around a very strong Franco-British axis and the company MBDA.

These founding decisions drew, first of all, on the experience of the Franco-British SCALP/Storm Shadow missiles, which showed that when France and the UK cooperated industrially, they produced materiel whose technical and operational excellence met the highest global standards.

Secondly, the decisions were based on the fact that France and the UK were sufficiently close to share their sovereignty in a sector as strategic as missiles and, in this way, improve their industrial competitiveness.

This is a first in the strategic defence industry. It is also interesting to note that our missile cooperation is punctuated with other recent firsts and symbolic moments.

A joint fact-finding mission by two standing committees of the National Assembly and House of Commons, such as the one which produced the 12 December report, is also a first.

The mission falls within the framework of an intergovernmental agreement ratified by the French and British parliaments, which the National Assembly symbolically passed unanimously the very day after the June 2016 referendum on Brexit.

Finally, the joint publication of the report on 12 December 2018, during a very busy political week for the UK and Westminster, shows how strong our relationship is when it comes to defence and the armaments industry.

The Future Cruise/Anti-Ship Weapon (FC/ASW) missile programme, which is intended to replace the Exocet, Harpoon, Storm Shadow and SCALP weapons, is of key importance for the French and British armed forces.

These weapons programmes make France and the United Kingdom highly credible when we commit ourselves militarily alongside our major allies.

This credibility comes from the independence and autonomous decision-making they confer on us.

A missile programme such as the Future Cruise/Anti-Ship Weapon programme strengthens Europe’s industrial fabric and makes it possible for us to maintain our strategic autonomy over the long term.

The report, in English and French, is available on the websites of the House of Commons and National Assembly.

Published on 15/01/2019

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