France and Britain to work on military drone: minister

20th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

France and Britain plan to set up a joint team to oversee the possible development of an unmanned military aircraft, French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet said on Monday at the Paris Air Show.

The team will be based in Britain and charged with drawing up requirements for a European drone so the allies can eventually put the programme out to tender to the defence industry, he said.

Longuet's announcement came as the British and French militaries are working increasingly closely together in order to combine their strengths at a time of falling defence budgets and several ongoing conflicts.

The minister said he would also encourage France's own rival private defence contractors to work together more closely, a constant appeal from the state to firms like Thales, Safran and Dassault Aviation.

Dassault and Thales are working on the MALE Harfang drone project along with European giant EADS, aiming to convert an Israeli platform for use by European militaries.

© 2011 AFP

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