UK, France Cooperating on Missile Research
As part of its Defense Industrial Strategy, the UK looked at the missile sector in 2007 and concluded that a 50% reduction in “complex weapons” funding was expected over the next 5 years. In response, they set up a joint MOD-industry team, including MBDA (UK), Thales, BAES Underwater Systems Ltd and QinetiQ; and talked to lower tier suppliers such as Roxel, SELEX and Ultra. When the song and dance ended, Raytheon was left without a seat, as “Team Complex Weapons” (MBDA UK, Thales, Roxel, and QinetiQ) was set up to provide for the UK’s future needs. A GBP 500+ million contract for a Loitering Munition Demonstration and Manufacture program would follow, conditionally single-sourced to Team CW.
As a next step, Britain and France have launched a multi-million pound Innovation and Technology Partnership (ITP) focused on materials and components for missiles. The ITP will be jointly funded by the British and French governments and an industry and academic consortium led by arms company MBDA. Total funding is expected to be GBP 10.3 million (about $23.5 million): GBP 2.5 million from the UK MoD, GBP 2.65 million equivalent from the French DGA Armament Procurement Agency, plus matching contributions from industry over the ITP’s 3 year period. In the words of the UK MoD release:
“The ITP has been set up to fulfil joint research needs of UK and France for missile technology, identifying common capability and technology needs and examining emerging technologies for future equipment. 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, and prepare for future cooperative programmes.”