Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has announced Franco-British Centres of Excellence for missile technology in Stevenage and Bolton.
Sir Michael made the announcement, which further deepens the UK-France defence relationship, at the Franco-British Council meeting in Paris.
The revolutionary Cross-Channel Centres of Excellence Strategy will allow Franco-British defence company MBDA to develop cutting-edge technology in the UK and France while increasing efficiency.
The creation of specialised Centres of Excellence for missile technology will support 400 skilled jobs at MBDA’s UK sites in Stevenage and Bolton.
Building on recent Franco-British commitments to work more closely, the strategy seeks to extend the boundaries of traditional interstate co-operation, to the advantage of both countries, including by increasing UK and French military capability and promoting competitiveness in exports.
During his visit the Defence Secretary also praised the UK and France’s deep and enduring partnership on operations against Daesh. The British and French militaries work closely together on a daily basis. RAF Voyager tankers often refuel French Rafales, as well as RAF jets. The RAF and French air force also team up to jointly strike more difficult targets, most recently in western Iraq, where RAF Tornados carrying Stormshadow missiles, and French aircraft successfully destroyed a large group of Saddam Hussein era bunkers used by Daesh for weapons manufacture. And only last week, near Mosul, an RAF Reaper crew was able to guide French Rafale jets onto a Daesh mortar team, striking the terrorists and eliminating the threat they were posing to Iraqi troops.
In a further boost to innovation the visit comes shortly after the launch of the next phase of a £117 million joint Franco-British Maritime Mine Counter Measures (MMCM) programme.
The MMCM programme will develop cutting edge maritime mine warfare capability, which will keep the UK and France at the forefront of autonomous systems technology. The development and deployment of unmanned mine clearance vehicle will help keep our personnel safe in challenging maritime environments.