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Britain, France continue drone development project

Britain and France advance cooperative development programs.

By Richard Tomkins
Britain, France continue drone development project
Dassault Aviation's concept of an unmanned combat drone. Image courtesy Dassault

LONDON, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Britain and France are continuing cooperation on the development of two separate unmanned combat air system prototype demonstrators.

The two demonstrators, due in 2025, will be used for operational test and evaluation work over the following five to 10 years and could serve as the basis for a future operational capability beyond 2030.

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"This innovative project further strengthens the UK-French defense relationship and supports innovative research on both sides of the Channel," British Minister for Defense Procurement Harriett Baldwin said.

The agreement was signed by Baldwin late last week in France at a working group meeting to further strengthen bilateral projects under the 2010 Lancaster House Treaty.

"In an uncertain world, working with international partners and allies is more important than ever and I am delighted that our teams, working with British and French industry partners, are making good progress on these ambitious bilateral programs."

The drone project involves work by BAE Systems, Dassault Aviation, Rolls Royce, Safran, Leonardo and Thales.

The new phase of drone development begins next year and is worth $2.08 billion.

Baldwin and her French counter-part, Laurent Collet-Billon, also signed deals to further strengthen cooperation on hydrodynamic testing and integration of the Case Telescoped Cannon onto Britain's new multirole AJAX armored vehicle and the Warrior infantry fighting vehicle, and France's Jaguar armored vehicle.

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The 40mm cannon is made by CTA International, a joint venture of BAE Systems and Nexter of France.

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