Future Anti-Ship Missile Systems: Joint inquiry with the Assemblée nationale's Standing Committee on National Defence and the Armed Forces Contents


The United Kingdom and France have had a long and successful history of defence cooperation. In 2010, this partnership reached a new level with the signing of the Lancaster House agreements. These agreements strengthened cooperation between our two countries in both capabilities and operations, helping to consolidate a defence relationship which, by its breadth and depth, has few equivalents anywhere.

On 7 February 2018, in the margins of the regular quadrilateral meetings of the Defence Committees of both chambers of both Parliaments, the Chairman of the Defence Committee, the Rt Hon Dr Julian Lewis MP, and the President of the Assemblée nationale’s Standing Committee on National Defence and the Armed Forces, M. Jean-Jacques Bridey, agreed to launch a joint inquiry of the two Committees. Both Committees agreed that this unprecedented initiative would examine a key pillar of UK-France defence cooperation: the future cruise/anti-ship weapon (FC/ASW) missile programme.

The FC/ASW programme is intended to build upon bilateral cooperation in the missile sector that has steadily developed since the 1990s when the SCALP/Storm Shadow programme was launched. This cooperation resulted in the integration of our missile industries into a unique and globally-sized industrial player: MBDA. The Lancaster House agreements, which led to the ‘One MBDA’ initiative, further rationalised this consolidation by instituting a relationship of interdependence between France and the United Kingdom, leading to the establishment of centres of excellence in both countries.

The successful conclusion of this programme will nonetheless require some unresolved issues to be answered.

Despite these questions, we believe that both Governments have every interest in working together to find a solution ensuring successful implementation of a programme that has significant and mutual benefits for both our two countries.

There is therefore every reason to be optimistic about the ability of both countries to carry out this programme, and thus to continue building an ever more robust relationship between France and the United Kingdom.

Published: 12 December 2018