Anglo-French FC/ASW Missile Program Successfully Passes Key Review
PARIS — Two years into the FC/ASW (Future Cruise/Anti-Ship Weapon) Concept Phase, MBDA successfully achieved its “Key Review,” jointly conducted with Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) and the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA), the British and French armament procurement agencies, the company announced in a March 19 release.
The conclusion of this Key Review makes it possible to select the most promising missile concepts to meet the requirements expressed by both nations’ armed forces.
More in-depth studies will now be conducted on these concepts with the aim of identifying the solutions that will be selected at the end of the concept phase in 2020, which will answer both nations’ requirements for long-range anti-ship missions, suppression of enemy air defenses and deep strike.
The conclusions of this study will also make it possible to establish the road maps for maturing the technologies required, and to launch any follow-on assessment phase. This new phase will demonstrate the necessary maturity of the weapon system and its key components, to be followed by the development and production phase in the 2024 timeframe, so that current weapons systems can be replaced in accordance with required timescales.
The FC/ASW program was born from converging requirements expressed by both France and the United Kingdom for a long-range anti-ship capability to deal with the possibility of a confrontation on the high seas, a capability to neutralize the most advanced air defenses, and a deep strike capability that can penetrate defenses and hit long-distance hardened targets.
The FC/ASW aims to replace the Storm Shadow/SCALP air-launched cruise missile in operational service in the United Kingdom and France as well as Exocet anti-ship missile in France and Harpoon anti-ship missile in the United Kingdom.
Equally funded by France and the United Kingdom, the FC/ASW Concept Phase is a product of the very close defense relationship set out between both nations by the Lancaster House treaties.
Valued at €100 million, the current Concept Phase was launched in 2017 for a duration of three years and is split 50/50 in terms of both quantity and quality of content between the United Kingdom and France. The effort will see MBDA mature systems and technologies that will increase the survivability, range and lethality of anti-ship and deep strike missiles launched by both air and naval combat platforms.
The FC/ASW Concept Phase is the latest step in the two countries’ highly successful cooperation on missile technologies through MBDA. This joint work already enabled the two countries to develop a range of world-class missile systems, such as Storm Shadow/SCALP, Meteor and Sea Venom/ANL; to rationalize the development and production of missiles through the “One MBDA” organization; and to harmonize the research and technology efforts of both nations across their entire missile industrial sector through the Missile Components and Materials — Innovation and Technology Partnership program.