PARIS, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- Government officials from Britain and France have agreed to cooperate further on missile defense development.
Under the agreement, announced by U.K. Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon at a meeting in Paris, the two countries will implement what they call the Cross-Channel Centres of Excellence Strategy. Franco-British security company MBDA has been selected to support the project, which includes the establishment of new development centers in the company's U.K. sites Stevenage and Bolton.
"To keep Britain strong, it's vital we develop mutual security through innovation and co-operation," Fallon said in a press release. "By securing a rising defense budget, working with allies and investing in Centres of Excellence, we can keep Britain at the cutting-edge of technology."
According to U.K. defense officials, the creation of new specialized sites will support 400 skilled jobs.
"This Franco-British defence co-operation ensures high-skilled jobs through innovation and will help keep Britain safer and more secure," Fallon added.
The missile cooperation agreement comes shortly after officials announced the launch of the next phase of the $145 million joint Franco-British Maritime Mine Counter Measures program, which aims to improve naval defense technology.