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France, Britain continue joint counter-mine program

France and Britain are continuing a joint project to develop an autonomous counter-mine vehicle system, good news for Thales and BAE Systems.

By Richard Tomkins
A graphic of the autonomous counter-mine vehicle system being developed by Thales and BAE Systems. Image courtesy Thales
A graphic of the autonomous counter-mine vehicle system being developed by Thales and BAE Systems. Image courtesy Thales

PARIS, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Thales, BAE Systems and their partners are to continue efforts to jointly develop and build an autonomous counter-mine vehicle system for France and Britain.

The effort comes under a next development phase agreement worth 143 million pounds signed by Britain's Minister for Defense Procurement Harriett Baldwin and her French counterpart, Laurent Collet-Billon.

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The joint Maritime Mine Counter Measures, or MMCM, program, stems from the 2010 Lancaster House Treaty between the two countries for a stronger bilateral defense capability and is overseen by the Organization for Joint Armament Cooperation, or OCCAR. OCCAR is a European organization for joint military procurement.

"This innovative project further strengthens the UK-French defense relationship and supports cutting-edge research on both sides of the (English) Channel," Baldwin said.

The BAE Systems/Thales team, includes SAAB, ECA Group and ASV Global.

In this next stage of the MMCM program, the companies will take the first-stage designs into a complete, manufactured system for assessment by the Royal Navy and the French Navy.

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