The Royal Navy is to benefit from a new highly advanced anti-ship missile thanks to a £500m investment (circa USD 831.4 million) from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) and French Government.
Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (Heavy) (FASGW(H)) missiles use sophisticated homing technology to attack small and medium sized targets and will be carried by the Royal Navy’s new Wildcat helicopters.
The MoD will contribute £280m towards the development of these complex weapons, in the first collaborative project since the Anglo-French summit which took place at RAF Brize Norton last month. This marks a significant step in joint working on complex weapons between the two nations.
The investment will sustain around 200 highly skilled UK jobs and work will take place at MBDA’s sites in Lostock near Manchester, Bristol and Stevenage. The contract will also protect a further 200 jobs in France.
Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Philip Dunne said:
“This highly sophisticated complex weapon system will provide our new Royal Navy Wildcat helicopters with unparalleled strike capabilities.
“Not only will the contract protect around 200 specialist engineering jobs in the UK, but is an important plank in building the strength of our relationship with France through joint procurement of common equipment, which will provide interoperability and other benefits of working in partnership.”
First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas said:
“These state-of-the-art missiles will play their part in the maintenance of a credible Navy: not only will they provide the Fleet Air Arm with a continuing battle-winning edge into the future, but they will also help to strengthen our partnership and interoperability with our good friends in the Marine Nationale.”
Press Release, March 27, 2014; Image: Royal Navy