Britain, France to seek new missile systems to replace war weapons
LONDON, May 23 (Xinhua) -- Britain's House of Commons and the French National Assembly have launched their first ever joint inquiry into future anti-ship missile systems, it was announced Wednesday in London.
The inquiry will review the future cruise/anti-ship weapon (FC/ASW) program that was launched by a bilateral agreement signed by the two neighboring countries in March 2017.
A new generation of missiles that the two countries hope jointly to develop by 2030 will be replacements for the existing Exocet, Harpoon, SCALP and Storm Shadow missiles.
The move is part of deepening collaboration between the defense committees of Britain and France.
Following a proposal by Dr. Julian Lewis, chairman of the House of Commons Defense Committee, and Jean-Jacques Bridey, chairman of the National Defense and Armed Forces Committee of the French National Assembly, both committees agreed to deepen their collaboration.
The 2010 Lancaster House Treaties and the Franco-British Summit that took place in Amiens in 2016 strengthened defense cooperation between France and Britain. Defense committees of both chambers regularly meet in order to follow-up this cooperation.
"It is in this context that the two committees have decided to hold a joint inquiry to demonstrate, and reinforce, the bilateral defence relations," said a statement by the British government.
Other issues to be considered by the inquiry will be the requirements of the two navies of each country for the next generation of anti-ship missiles, including range, speed, stealth and terminal guidance. It will also examine the capability of the British and French defense industries to meet these requirements, whether separately or jointly, and the availability of suitable missiles from other suppliers.
The Exocet missile, known as the flying fish, has been in use as a war weapon for more than 40 years after being introduced by France in 1973. The Harpoon was introduced, also in the 1970s by the U.S., while the SCALP Storm Shadow is a joint British, French and Italian weapon, launched in 2015 and used most recently against Islamic State targets in Syria.