The UK has signed new agreements with France that have the potential to strengthen defence partnerships between the countries.

The partnership involves close collaboration between both countries for the next phase of the UK-France unmanned combat air system (UCAS) demonstrator programme that will begin in late-2017 and to further hydrodynamics testing cooperation.

Both countries have also signed a contract to support Ajax, Warrior and French Jaguar weaponry.

UK Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin said: “This innovative project further strengthens the UK-French defence relationship and supports innovative research on both sides of the channel.

“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 programmes.

"In an uncertain world, working with international partners and allies is more important than ever."

“With a rising defence budget, and a £178bn equipment plan, our commitment to innovation and collaboration will deliver a safer and more prosperous Britain.”

BAES, Dassault Aviation, Rolls-Royce, Safran, Leonardo and Thales, which have worked to deliver the feasibility phase of the UCAS programme over the last two years, will be able to further develop the programme in preparation for the full €2bn demonstrator programme.

The programme aims to develop two full-scale UCAS operational demonstrators by 2025 for operational test and evaluation work.

Work under the hydrodynamics testing cooperation includes testing of different rotor blade profiles and Type 26 Global Combat Ship propeller testing over the next 18 months.

In addition, the UK-French defence cooperation involves integration of the Case Telescoped Cannon (CTC) onto the army’s new multi-role AJAX armoured vehicle and Warrior infantry fighting vehicle Ajax and Warrior, while France is integrating it into the Jaguar armoured vehicle.