Friday, February 17, 2012

Collaboration with France - The new deals

The most relevant parts of the new deal formalized today include:

Combined Joint Expeditionary Force

France and the UK agreed in November 2010 to set up a combined Joint expeditionary Force (CJEF). Our operation in Libya has proved the relevance of this work. Today the Level of Ambition for the CJEF has been described as:

an early entry force capable of facing multiple threats up to the highest intensity, available for bilateral, NATO, European Union, United Nations or other operations. A five-year exercise framework is in place to achieve full operating capability in 2016.
The number of exchange officers in the military academies of the two countries will increase, and a Force Enhancement Working Group to identify the scope for further cost saving through exchange of services and alignment of military requirements has been established.

Joint Amphibious Exercise for 2012  

Confirmed for later this year is the massive French-UK exercise, Corsican Lion, to accelerate the development of the CJEF. It will take place in the Mediterranean Sea with participation by sea, land and air forces. The UK will send the Royal Navy Response Force Task Group, France will also deploy the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle as part of the exercise. 

Carrier Strike Group collaboration

The UK and France aim to have, by the early 2020s, the ability to deploy a UK-French integrated carrier strike group incorporating assets owned by both countries.

Deployable Joint HQ to be formed

A deployable Combined Joint Force Headquarters is being created. By 2016, the UK/FR Headquarters will utilise existing French and UK high-readiness, well-experienced national Force Headquarters staff, including officers embedded in each other’s deployable Headquarters. The Headquarters will be capable of expansion to include staff from other nations participating in a multinational operation.

An early command and control element of the CJEF will stand up early, with urgency, to handle small scale operations in the short term. It will be expanded to reach full efficiency by 2016.


Telemos - Medium Altitude Longue Endurance (MALE) Drone. The Joint Program Office was launched in 2011. A jointly funded contract will "shortly" be placed with BAES and Dassault to study the technical risks associated with the MALE UAV. The Telemos should by flying by 2020. This represents a delay from an once-hoped 2018 date, and will pretty much force the RAF to bring Reaper into core budget as stop-gap measure in 2015 (the Reaper is currently only a UOR, tied to the Afghanistan campaign and funded by the Treasury).
France is valuing its own alternatives for an interim solution, with the Heron-TP being favorite. The Heron is made in Israel and is to be adapted (at great cost) to meet french requirements by Dassault. A more cost-effective Reaper solution is not appreciated as it is seen as damaging for the national industry since Dassault would have mostly nothing to do on it!

Watchkeeper - France confirms its interest for the Watchkeeper system recognising the opportunities this would create for cooperation on technical, support, operational and development of doctrine and concepts.  An evaluation of the system by France will begin in 2012, in the framework of its national procurement process, and conclude in 2013.

Watchkeeper might find in France its first export triumph. 

Joint Future Combat Air System Demonstration Programme - Co-operation of strategic importance for the future of the European Combat Air Sector. This work will provide a framework to mature the relevant technologies and operational concepts for a UCAS operating in a high threat environment. Already this year work could start for writing the specification of this demonstrator with a jointly funded contract under the industrial leadership of Dassault-Aviation in France and BAE Systems in the UK.
This is likely to mean that the NEURON and TARANIS projects will more or less joint in a single long-term program aiming for a stealth drone to put in service by around 2030.

A400 Cargo Aircraft

A Joint User Group is being established to facilitate co-operation on A400M training to inform operating techniques and procedures for synthetic and live training. A common support plan for the two fleets is also being pursued. A contract will be negotiated with Airbus Military so that integrated support is in place for the arrival of the first French aircraft in 2013.

Submarine technology

A bilateral Memorandum of Understanding was signed in June 2011 to support exchanges and pursue collaborative work to identify areas of technological cooperation and savings. Currently, the team is looking at the feasibility of a co-development of specific sonar equipment.

Maritime Mine Countermeasures.

The plans for future Maritime Mine Countermeasures capabilities have been aligned, as widely expected. Development of a MCM solution will happen with an incremental approach whose first major step will begin next year with the development and realisation of a demonstrator/prototype of off board systems based on unmanned technologies. The Joint Project Office already established within OCCAR will begin a European competitive process in 2012 for a common assessment phase.

I've looked at the RN and french programs for future MCM systems here. The scope for collaboration has long been evident, with the basic concept of the two navies being the same.

Satellite Communications.

France and UK will look to confirm their intent to adopt a cooperative approach to meet their need for future COMSAT services, considering they will form a core asset in any Beyond Line of Sight capabilities in the future. A comparative study will be made by mid 2012 to analyse different architectural options.

40mm CTA cannon.

Effort will be made to assure qualification by 2013, jointly promote the export of this system and the elaboration of a NATO standard.

Counter IED.

A high degree of interoperability will be demanded and a Joint action plan will be elaborated in 2012 to cover cooperative opportunities in the operations/capability/R&T domains.


Collaboration, via MBDA, is to continue. A joint assessment phase on Storm Shadow/Scalp enhancement is to start this year. The feasibility of cooperation on future anti-surface tactical missiles will be examinated through initial studies later this year. This might involve the British SPEAR effect for a family of new air to ground weapons, but also surface-to-surface systems (BANG warhead for extended range GMLRS rockets [over 100 km demonstrated] and the UK has expressed interest in the France effort for designing a replacement for the Milan anti-tank missile, despite the Javelin having arguably a long life ahead of itself still.
In the coming months a MoU will be signed for the development and manufacture of the Future Anti-ship Guided Weapon / Anti-Navire Léger program. The FASGW(Heavy) or Sea Skua II (is it an official name? Not clear) is the replacement for the Sea Skua helicopter-launched anti-ship missile, and is targeted at the Wildcat helicopter. Interesting how the same missile is "Heavy" for the british and "light" for the French: the french, of course, intend their Exocet as the Heavy part of the mix.

This Wildcat is shown heavily loaded with 4 Sea Skua / FASGW(H) and 2 x 7 launchers of LMM missiles. Never before had a Navy Lynx had this firepower!

The FASGW(Light) is the Thales Light Multimission Missile, already ordered in 1000 units. The LMM can be employed by the Wildcat, could be integrated in the next few years on the Watchkeeper under the Royal Artillery's ATUAS (Armed Tactical Unmanned Air System) and can be fired by the Stormer HVM platform in place of the usual Starstreak missile, from which anyway the LMM derives.

A Wildcat carrying 14 LMM missiles. Excellent to fend off swarms of FACs and boats with RPGs and other similar threats. An Apache armed with LMMs is also shown. The LMM could find use in many applications, on many different platforms.

The LMM has been shown and offered for integration already on uncountable platforms, including Camcopter mini drones and on the BAE Herti drone, vehicular Remote Weapon Stations and on the SIGMA (Stablilised Integrated Gun/Missile Array) naval system, development of the DS30 line of small-calibre weapon mountings that the RN is retrofitting on Type 23 and that will no doubt be on CVF and Type 26 as well. The DS30 used by the RN combines an off-mount electro-optical director with a fully automated gun mount using the ATK Mk 44 Bushmaster 30mm cannon.

An RWS for use on land vehicles, combining a .50 and 2 LMM missiles. A massive firepower readily available.

The SIGMA adds a a seven-cell LMM pannier, and has already been extensively trialed and evaluated by DSTL for the MOD as part of naval research and experimentation. It could be adopted anytime to enhance the defense of ships. 

The SIGMA mount

Research and Development

A common strategy for defence research, development and innovation will be developed this year to compile a "2025 Key Technologies” plan to guide the efforts of the defence industry.

Collaboration will continue in Cyber warfare and Counterterrorism, and in the nuclear field as well. 

In the civilian field, a huge deal has been signed for Nuclear Energy collaboration, involving the commitment to finalise key contracts for the first new nuclear power station to be built in the UK (Hinkley Point C) in time for the project’s final investment decision before the end of 2012. It is also involved a project for the construction of a tidal turbine farm off Alderney-Aurigny in the Channel Islands.


  1. It looks like more good news. Quite honestly I never thought that kind of international co-operation between the two nations would get this far but it looks as if they are serious. I hope that it doesn't all start falling apart as soon as natonal commercial rivalries start to come into play. Anglo-French schemes have done in the past.

    However, the setting up of combined Joint Force Headquarters should guard against that to a certain extent and I like the look of some of the equipment projects.

    We could have done with something on the procurement of a joint aircraft for MPA, though. Economy of scale would help trememdously, even if were for only half a dozen aircraft each.

  2. There's good chances that some good kit will come out of this. MPA is a bit of a problem mainly due to the fact that France is going to carry on for a good few years more with their upgraded Atlantic, so they do not have any real urgency in that particular field.

  3. Gabriele

    I see that one of the co-operation programmes involves Counter-IED research and equipment. I have read reports of the French SOUVIM2 mine clearance equipment(produced by MBDA). It looks like a likely piece of kit (does similar work to the Husky, so I understand). Is it any good, do you know and is that the kind of kit both armies should be looking at buying jointly?

  4. The Souvim is a possible area of interest and collaboration, but i wouldn't hold my breath. I think that mostly there will be collaboration in studying how modern IEDs are made, and the most likely and immediate products will probably be jammers and other kit of that kind.
    We will see, though.

  5. Hi Gabriele,
    I would the support the idea of a joint Amphibious brigade, maybe with a RM Cdo unit, a French Marine unit, and a Dutch unit, under a joint command.
    Between the UK and France we would have enough ships to both deploy, supply and escort such a force.

  6. It seems to be the path we are heading towards. The dutch marines are already "teamed" with 3rd Commando as part of NATO organizations. And now the 1800-strong RN task group is set to work closely with a similarly sized force from France, so... Corsican Lion will be a very interesting deployment!

  7. Yes, I agree. "Corsican Lion" should prove most interesting. Incidentally the Dutch Marines use a 120mm mortar, don't they? I don't know how successful it has been but there has been a lot of discusion recently about procuring a similar wweapon for British Forces.

    Gabriele, I have left a post on Stormer-Shielder on your recent post on the Army (Future Force 2020-Moving away from Divisions I think it was called). I thought you might not see it there.

  8. Official discussion, or discussion on blogs? I heard nothing so far of substantial about 120 mm mortars, but i sure would approve cheerfully if such a drive was real.
    The British Army was present when, recently, BAE presented their latest guidance kit turning a HE 81 mm L16 mortar shell into a guided projectile. Interest was very high, but there is no requirement for now (or better, the statement sounded like "no room in this Planning Round, we might squeeze it into the next because we damn like this")
    That would be a good buy.

    On Shielder, i replied to you on the other post. ;)

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