Paris and London relaunch their cooperation in the field of tactical missiles

Franco-British cooperation in terms of the development of military systems has often been difficult, and marked by bitter failures, as was the case, for example, with the aircraft carrier project between the two countries. But when it succeeds, it often results in very high quality equipment. This was the case in the field of helicopters with the Gazelle and the Puma, in the field of combat aircraft with the Jaguar, and more recently in the field of artillery guns with the 40mm telescoped ammunition system. But the preferred field of this cooperation for several decades has been tactical missiles, with systems like the SCALP / Storm Shadow and new ANL / Sea Venom missile which both offer advanced capabilities to the armed forces of two countries, as well as to their export customers.

In addition to cooperation in the field of mine warfare, Paris and London have been developing together for several years a new family of missiles intended to replace both the French Exocet and the American Harpoon in the field of long-range anti-ship warfare, as well as the Scalp / Storm Shadow cruise missile which equips Rafale, Typhoon and Mirage 2000. Designated Future Anti-Ship Missile / Future Cruise Missile or FMAN / FMC, this cooperation should lead by 2030 to provide the naval and air forces of the two countries with advanced operational capabilities capable of challenging the best anti-missile and close protection systems in service or in the future. As such, during its last hearing by a defense committee brought back to only 4 deputies, the 26 other members of this commission obviously having better things to do than to listen to the report of the General Directorate of Armament, the General Delegate Joël Barre indicated that the FMC would have the capacities of suppression of the enemy anti-aircraft defenses very advances, offering a long-lost capability to the French air force.

The SCALP / Storm Shadow cruise missile represents a decisive operational capability for the French and British air forces.

However, in the context of tensions between France and Great Britain on many issues, including Brexit and London's participation in the Aukus alliance, it had become difficult to bring together the actors of the two countries to advance this cooperation which is nevertheless essential for the operational capacities of the armies of the two countries in the near future. After several postponements, a working meeting around the partnership designated by the acronym MCM ITP for Materials and Components for Missile Innovation and Technology Partnership, was held on October 27 and 28, bringing together representatives of the Ministry of Defense and the British DSTL (Defense and Science Technology Laboratory), the French DGA as well as industrialists like Thales, MBDA and Leonardo.

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