News Story

Defence ministers from the UK and France have agreed to increase cooperation on unmanned aerial systems (UAS) following a meeting in London.

French Defence Minister Jean Yves Le Drian and UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond met to discuss progress on the Anglo-French defence cooperation treaty, signed at Lancaster House in late 2010.

During the meeting, two Memoranda of Understanding were signed by UK defence equipment minister Peter Luff and France's Délégué Général pour l'Armement, Laurent Collet-Billon.

The first agreed plans which will see France trial the Watchkeeper Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), which is used for surveillance and reconnaissance.

The trials will last until mid-2013, at which point France will decide on whether or not to purchase Watchkeeper for its own military.

A second MoU covering Future Combat Air Systems was also signed to initiate the first phase of a demonstration programme involving British and French industry. Contracts will be signed shortly with BAE Systems and France's Dassault Aviation, and with Rolls Royce and the French company Safran.

Peter Luff said,

“The MoUs mark a major step towards delivering the next generation of military capability, launching our formal cooperation on the Future Combat Aerial System.

“These agreements represent more than just joint commitments. They represent a joint understanding of the threats we are likely to meet in the future, the character of warfare we are likely to undertake and the capabilities required to succeed on tomorrow's battlefield. We are putting into effect the lessons from our joint experience in Afghanistan and Libya, recognising unmanned aerial systems as a future key capability requirement."


Photo shows (standing, left to right) French Defence Minister Jean Yves Le Drian and UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond and (sitting, left to right), France's Délégué Général pour l'Armement, Laurent Collet-Billon and Peter Luff, minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology

Back to News