The UK Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) and the French Direction générale de l’armement (DGA) have signed a government agreement for the Future Cruise / Anti-Ship Weapon (FC/ASW) programme.

The bilateral agreement, along with related contracts, marks the next step in the project that seeks to jointly develop a new generation of deep strike and heavy anti-ship missiles.

The Anglo-French FC/ASW programme will provide replacements for the UK’s Harpoon and Storm Shadow missiles, and France’s Exocet and Scalp missiles.

These missiles are being refurbished to keep them in-service until the replacements are available for use.

UK-French enterprise MBDA was chosen to conduct the project’s joint concept phase, which successfully concluded.

MBDA CEO Eric Beranger said: “The FC/ASW programme is an example of the value of the ‘One MBDA’ integrated model. By combining technology, industrial capacity, and funding across borders, we can deliver unique and advanced sovereign capabilities.

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“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.”

According to MBDA, a subsonic low observable missile concept and a supersonic, highly manoeuvrable concept have been planned for evaluation.

The concepts will be designed to provide France and the UK with capability to counter long-range land, sea, air, and other reinforced threats.

The two missiles are expected to be deployed by the end of 2030.

Beranger added: “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.”