France and the U.K. are moving forward with its defense cooperation, announcing France will undertake operational assessments and trials of the Thales Watchkeeper unmanned aircraft system (UAS) in 2012 and 2013 and the two countries will collaborate on another UAS program.
The announcements were made Tuesday after a bi-lateral meeting in London between U.K. Secretary of State for Defense Philip Hammond MP and French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
“The battle-winning operational edge that UAVs bring to operations is well understood and these systems are rightly a central pillar of UK-French defence collaboration. The announcement today that France will undertake trials of Watchkeeper demonstrates both nations commitment to cooperation on the battlefield and in the development of this strategically important sector," said Victor Chavez, chief executive of Thales U.K.
Also this week, French and British officials agreed to establish the first phase of a collaborative "demonstration program" for a Future Combat Air System (FCAS), another unmanned air system, to be completed by 2030-40. According to published reports, the countries agreed with spend $14.5 million with Dassault Aviation and BAE systems on new designs for the FCAS. More