MBDA UK has been awarded a $58.4m contract for a new naval helicopter anti-ship missile, as part of a collaborative missile development effort by the UK and France.

The 27-month assessment phase contract announced at this year’s Defence Systems & Equipment International show in London, is worth £35m .

The new weapon is expected to meet requirements for the UK’s future anti-surface guided weapon and France’s ANL (anti-navire léger) and will replace their current Sea Skua and AS15TT missiles from around 2015.

The anti-ship missile is expected to replace the Royal Navy’s Sea Skua, lightweight short-range air-to-surface missile, and the French anti-shipping AS15TT missiles by 2015. the system will be installed on helicopters such as the AgustaWestland Lynx Wildcat and NH Industries NH90.

The UK Ministry of Defence said the work will be carried out in the UK and France, using industries within their respective supply chains.