UK, France launch joint cruise/anti-ship missile inquiry

The committees of the British House of Commons and the French National Assembly have decided to launch a joint inquiry into the development of a new generation of cruise and anti-ship missiles.

Illustration: Royal Navy file photo of HMS Edinburgh conducting final Sea Dart missile firing

Following the proposal of Dr. Julian Lewis, chairman of the House of Commons Defence Committee, and Jean-Jacques Bridey, chairman of the National Defence and Armed Forces Committee of the French National Assembly, both sides have agreed to deepen their collaboration.

The 2010 Lancaster House Treaties and the Franco-British Summit that took place in Amiens on 3 March 2016 have strengthened the defence cooperation between France and the United Kingdom and Defence committees of both chambers regularly meet in order to follow-up this cooperation. It is in this context that the two committees have decided to hold a joint inquiry to demonstrate, and reinforce, the bilateral defence relations.

The joint inquiry into Future anti-ship missile system, launched today, will review the future cruise/anti-ship weapon (FC/ASW) program that was launched by a bilateral agreement signed on 28 March 2017. The new generation of missiles that the two countries hope to develop by 2030 will be replacing the existing Exocet, Harpoon, SCALP and Storm Shadow missiles.

The 2017 agreement will last up to three years and help the countries define the missile designs and reduce risks to inform decisions about the next stage of the program.

Each country is contributing €50 million to this phase of development.

Another issue to be considered by the inquiry will be to examine the two navies’ requirements for the next generation of anti-ship missiles, including range, speed, stealth and terminal guidance. The inquiry will also evaluate the capability of the UK and French defence industries to meet these requirements and the availability of suitable missiles from other suppliers.