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New UK-France Partnership On Future Guided Weapons

Ministry Of Defence (UK)

UK and France launch new partnership on future guided weapons technology

Britain and France today announced a new multi-million pound initiative in European defence research collaboration, with the formation of an Innovation and Technology Partnership (ITP) focused on materials and components for missiles.

The ITP builds on the UK's Defence Technology Centre concept, and will be jointly funded by the British and French governments and an industry/ academia consortium led by MBDA. The UK MOD will fund £2.5M/pa and the French DGA E3.5M/pa, while industry expects to match the combined total of the Government funding. The ITP will initially run for 3 years, extendable to 5 years.

The ITP aims to consolidate a future European guided weapon capability by building the technological base and allowing a better understanding of common future needs. It will also prepare for future cooperative programmes by fostering co-operation.

Following a meeting of the Franco British High Level Working Group, a joint Government/Industry forum for enhancing cooperation in defence acquisition, Baroness Taylor, the Minister for Defence Equipment and Support and Francois Lureau, the French National Armaments Director, issued the following joint statement:

"This Innovation and Technology Partnership is a tangible example of European cooperation that will help ensure that both the UK's and the French armed forces will continue to have access to vital technology, and maximises the benefit of investment from the British and French Governments and from industry.

"Both governments have identified the need for further work on emerging technologies for complex weapons, as underlined in the UK Defence Technology Strategy, together with the importance of the UK and France building the base for a future Anglo-French complex weapons capability. Today's announcement underlines our commitment to taking this forward through innovative collaboration across national governments and industry. The Missile ITP establishes a new business model for defence research."

The ITP aims to fulfil joint research needs of UK and France for missile technology. It will identify common capability and technology needs and identify and de-risk emerging technologies for future equipment. Governmental experts of both nations will establish a Joint Team to monitor and evaluate jointly the different work packages of this project, in the broader perspective of expertise sharing. The collaboration also aims to provide more effective access to innovation from Small and Medium Enterprises and Universities and forge better links between industry and government.


1. Complex Weapons are strategic and tactical weapons, reliant upon guidance systems to achieve precision effects, with some provision for maintenance interventions.

2. The Defence Technology Centres (DTCs) were announced in 2003. They are jointly funded by MOD and industry consortia, with MOD having earmarked approximately £90M over a five year programme to support four DTCs. DTCs work with a wide range of suppliers, including SMEs and academia, to identify new technologies and innovation where MOD and industry investment is likely to produce significant benefit.

3. Other companies involved in the ITP will include Thales Air Systems, Thales Missile Electronics, Microturbo, Selex, Roxel, QinetiQ and Nexter Munitions.

4. The Franco British High Level Working Group (HLWG) was established following the UK/France Summit in June 2006 to build on and enhance cooperation in armaments programs.

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