France and Britain have agreed to contribute US$5m each annually to fund a missile partnership that will see the countries develop and integrate missile technology.

The contributions will be matched by an industry and academic consortium led by missile producers MBDA, which includes Thales Air Systems, Thales Missile Electronics, Microturbo, Selex, Roxel, QinetiQ, Nexter Munitions and several universities, France’s Délégation Générale pour l’Armement (DGA) says.

The partnership deal will run for three years and is renewable for a further two years.

Research will focus on materials and components for missile technology while seeking to consolidate a European technological base to satisfy common needs in research and to identify emerging technologies.

DGA chief executive Francois Lureau and British Minister for Defence Procurement Baroness Ann Taylor say the partnership is a “concrete example of cooperation which ensures access by the French and British forces to essential technologies and to optimise the advantages of a common investment between governments and industry”.

By Elizabeth Clifford-Marsh