French deal boost for BAE

Minister Harriett Baldwin with her French counterpart Laurent Collet-Billon
Minister Harriett Baldwin with her French counterpart Laurent Collet-Billon
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A major development deal between Britain and France to build the next generation of pilotless combat aircraft took a step forward with the signing of key agreements.

The future work could involve staff at BAE Systems Military Air and Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin MP further strengthened the UK’s partnership with France at the High Level Working Group in Paris, signing deals with her French counterpart, Laurent Collet-Billon (pictured) also on a hydrodynamics testing cooperation, and a support contract for Ajax, Warrior and French Jaguar weaponry.

But the pilotless jets demonstration Programme will develop two full-scale versatile and world-class UCAS operational demonstrators by 2025.

These will be used for operational test and evaluation work over the following 10 years and could serve as the basis for a future operational capability beyond 2030.

Nigel Whitehead, group managing director, BAE Systems said:“We welcome the announcements by the UK and French governments today which will enable the next phase of the joint Unmanned Combat Air System programme to begin.

“This important work not only contributes to the sovereign capability and national security of both nations but helps to sustain the unique engineering skills-base required to develop the next generation of aircraft.

“Together with our partner Nexter of France, we are also pleased to continue to equip and support the Ajax and Warrior vehicles with the Cased Telescope Cannon system.”