Britain, France strengthening military cooperation

Jan. 31, 2014 at 4:50 PM
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LONDON, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Britain and France have agreed to greater defense cooperation, including joint investments in procurement of defense equipment.

The agreement, which builds on the 2010 Lancaster House treaties, was announced Friday in a joint communique following an Anglo-French summit at RAF Brize Norton between Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande.

"Britain and France are natural partners for defense cooperation," said British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond. "We have made substantial progress since the Lancaster House Treaty was signed in 2010 and today we have committed ourselves to go further still.

"The agreements we have reached at this Summit will improve the interoperability of our forces, enhance our joint equipment procurement and build on our capacity to support security and stability in places such as Libya, Mali and the Central African Republic."

Documents signed include one for a two-year, $198 million feasibility phase project for British and French industries working together for a future combat air system. Others were a technical arrangements deal for a personnel exchange program, with RAF pilots and engineers gaining experience in France on the operation of Airbus A400M aerial refueling tankers and French pilots and crew visiting Britain to gain experience on RAF A330 Voyager refuelers.

A Memorandum of Understanding that was signed confirmed joint orders for a future helicopter-launched anti-surface guided weapon British and French naval forces.

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