PARIS, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- European missile-maker MBDA is to launch a new phase of research and technology under a contract from Britain and France.
The award from Britain's Ministry of Defense's Defense Science and Technology Laboratory and the French military's defense procurement agency DGA comes under the Materials and Components for Missiles -- Innovation and Technology Partnership, which over the previous six years has supported more than 100 research projects.
More than 100 industrial partners -- from small-and medium enterprises to research centers and academic institution -- are part of the program in which industry contributes half the research funding.
The overall funding under the earlier, first phase was more than $17.8 million.
MBDA said the new phase will continue through 2015 "and beyond."
"The principle of the MCM-ITP program is unique in the defense sector, allowing France and the United Kingdom to collaborate closely in their research and technology objectives," said Steve Wadey, MBDA executive group technical director.
"At its heart is the drive for innovation and we allocate 30 percent of the funds to SMEs and public and private laboratories. Preparing the right technologies for the future generation of missile systems with high levels of innovation provides a foundation for a competitive and integrated industrial base in France and the U.K."
The MCM-ITP program enables the maturing of technologies in the laboratory. Once validated, the technologies become part of future technology demonstrators of missiles, equipment or missile systems.
There are eight different domains relevant to missile development, MBDA said: systems, infrared and radar sensors, solid propulsion, air-breathing propulsion, warheads, safety and arming units and fuzes, materials and electronics. Each is led by MBDA or one of its partners.
Partners include Nexter, Qinetiq, Roxel, Safran Microturbo, Selex ES and Thales.
Additional details of the program and what technologies have been developed were not disclosed.