MBDA has announced that the Anglo-French Future Cruise/Anti-Ship Weapon (FC/ASW) missile programme has the successfully passed its “Key Review” two years into the concept phase.
The review jointly conducted by the British and French armament procurement agencies, Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) and the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA).
The conclusion of this Key Review makes it possible to select the most promising missile concepts in order to meet the requirements expressed by both nations’ armed forces. More in-depth studies will now be conducted on these concepts with the aim of identifying the solutions that will be selected at the end of the concept phase in 2020 in order to answer both nations’ requirements for long range anti-ship missions, suppression of enemy air defences and deep strike.
The conclusions of this study will also make it possible to establish the road maps for maturing the technologies required, and to launch any follow on assessment phase. This new phase will demonstrate the necessary maturity of the weapon system and its key components, to be followed by the development and production phase in the 2024 timeframe, so that current weapons systems can be replaced in accordance with required timescales.
The FC/ASW programme was born from converging requirements expressed by both France and the UK for a long range anti-ship capability – to deal with the possibility of a confrontation on the high seas, a capability to neutralise the most advanced air defences, and a deep strike capability that can penetrate defences and hit long-distance hardened targets.
The FC/ASW aims to replace Storm Shadow/ SCALP air launched cruise missile (ALCM) in operational service in the UK and France as well as Exocet anti-ship missile (AShM) in France and Harpoon AShM in the UK.
Equally funded by France and the UK, the FC/ASW Concept Phase is a product of the very close defence relationship set out between both nations by the Lancaster House treaties.
Valued at €100 million, the current Concept Phase was launched in 2017 for a duration of three years and is split 50/50 in terms of both quantity and quality of content between the UK and France. The effort will see MBDA mature systems and technologies that will increase the survivability, range and lethality of anti-ship and deep strike missiles launched by both air and naval combat platforms.
The FC/ASW Concept Phase is the latest step in the two countries’ highly successful co-operation on missile technologies through MBDA. This joint work already enabled the two countries to develop a range of world-class missile systems, such as Storm Shadow/SCALP, Meteor, and Sea Venom/ANL; to rationalise the development and production of missiles through the ‘One MBDA’ organisation; and to harmonise the research and technology efforts of both nations across their entire missile industrial sector through the MCM-ITP (Missile Components and Materials – Innovation and Technology Partnership) programme.