PARIS, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- The defense ministers of France and Britain are to meet in Paris next week to look into closer defense cooperation between the two countries.
The French Defense Ministry said the meeting was designed to "put into effect" treaty agreements signed recently between the two countries in the field of military cooperation.
Among the treaties is the creation of an Anglo-French rapid reaction force of around 6,500 troops from both countries, intended for missions ranging from humanitarian relief work to full war-fighting operations.
The force is due to include units from the Parachute Regiment, the Royal Marines and Special Forces including the SAS, as well as their French counterparts.
The agreement was the centerpiece pact signed by British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy at a meeting two months ago. The security cooperation will include potential air and naval assets and an operational alliance based on sharing aircraft capabilities.
British Defense Minister Liam Fox and his French counterpart will discuss details of the pact at their meeting next Thursday, the French Defense Ministry said. Officials said the defense deal would also coordinate work on nuclear weapons and raising the prospect of ultimately developing a joint deterrent.
The meeting also comes as France moved in recent weeks to order 200 air-to-air Meteor missiles to equip its Rafale fighters serving in the air force and navy. Designed and manufactured by multinational missile producer MBDA, the first Meteor missile will be delivered to the French air force in 2018.
It will be designed with what manufacturers called "a ramjet that can intercept targets at ranges of several tens of kilometers."
With more than 9,750 employees in Europe and the United States, the stake of MBDA group is shared by Britain's BAE System, European EADS and Italy's Finmeccanica.
Both countries have insisted that the deal to pool defense resources between Britain and France would not lead to a loss of sovereignty.
Military experts estimate that France and Britain will each have only one functioning carrier by the end of the decade. So London and Paris will coordinate the maintenance schedules for their ships, ensuring that one carrier is always in service and potentially available for joint operations. French combat aircraft may also be allowed to fly from Britain's carrier.
The Defense News Web site reported that among the areas of cooperation identified in the treaty are work on a "new medium-altitude, long-endurance surveillance drone, joint assessment of requirements for an unmanned combat air vehicle, and a 10-year strategic plan for the missile sector, based on greater interdependence and industrial consolidation."