UK and France advance future cruise/anti-ship weapon project

The UK and France have confirmed the launch of the preparation works for the future cruise/anti-ship weapon (FC/ASW) program, after the signing of a government agreement and associated contracts by the French Direction générale de l’armement (DGA) and the British Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S).

These preparation works will focus on the coordinated development of a program of next-generation deep strike and heavy anti-ship weapons.

Furthermore, it will assess two complementary missile concepts, expected to be fielded at the end of the decade: a subsonic low observable concept and a supersonic, highly maneuverable concept.

These concepts are to meet the requirements of France and the UK and will provide a game-changing capability to overcome land-based and maritime threats, hardened targets and air defence systems, at very long ranges and in increasingly contested battlespace environments, according to the officials.

Eric Beranger, CEO of MBDA said that “Following the conclusion of the FC/ASW Concept Phase, the confirmation of the launch of these preparation works testifies the renewed confidence of our two countries towards MBDA.

The project will take advantage from our sustained French/UK Centres of Excellence. This reinforcement of MBDA’s portfolio of deep strike and anti-ship systems will allow MBDA to offer to our armed forces, whose satisfaction is our priority, a cutting-edge solution fitted to their requirements and adapted to all existing or future operational needs.”

The FC/ASW program passed the “key review” phase in March 2019. The review was completed two years into the FC/ASW (future cruise/anti-ship weapon) concept phase.

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Equally funded by France and the UK, the €100 million FC/ASW concept phase was launched in 2017 for a duration of three years and is split 50/50 in terms of both quantity and quality of content between the UK and France.

The FC/ASW aims to replace Storm Shadow/ SCALP air launched cruise missile in operational service in the UK and France as well as Exocet anti-ship missile in France and Harpoon anti-ship missile in the UK.

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Photo: MBDA