The French and UK governments have funded MBDA for the next phase of the collaborative Future Cruise/Anti-Ship Weapon (FC/ASW) programme (in French, Futur missile anti-navire/Futur missile de croisière: FMAN/FMC).
A governmental agreement and associated contracts were confirmed by the France’s Direction générale de l’armement (DGA) and the UK Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organisation on 17 February. The three-year preparatory phase – equivalent to the Assessment Phase in the UK’s acquisition cycle – will focus on the co-ordinated development of a programme of next-generation deep-strike and heavy anti-ship weapons to enter service about 2030.
The FC/ASW programme intends to develop a new generation of guided weapons to replace the Exocet and Harpoon anti-ship missiles in naval service, and the air-launched Storm Shadow/SCALP cruise missiles. The concept phase, which concluded last year, narrowed down to two complementary candidate designs: a long-range, low-observable subsonic missile; and a highly manoeuvrable, high supersonic missile.