Key points of Anglo-French defence deal

2nd November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Key points from the joint declaration issued by British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy detailing a new defence deal agreed in London on Tuesday:

-- France and Britain are "natural partners". They are both nuclear powers and are members of NATO, the UN Security Council and the European Union, have strong defence industries and believe similar threats face them both.

-- Nuclear collaboration. A new joint facility will be set up at Valduc in eastern France for simulated tests on nuclear warheads, supported by a joint technology development centre at Aldermaston, west of London.

-- A combined joint expeditionary force. The rapid reaction force will be suitable for a "wide range of scenarios, up to and including high intensity operations".

It will involve army, navy and air force personnel, with air and land forces beginning training in 2011, and will be available "at notice" for bilateral, NATO, European Union, United Nations and other operations.

-- Aircraft carriers will be shared. The two countries aim to have "by the early 2020s, the ability to deploy a UK-French integrated carrier strike group incorporating assets owned by both countries" -- namely British jets on the French carrier Charles de Gaulle, and French jets on Britain's Queen Elizabeth.

Officials say the two countries will coordinate their maintenance schedules so there is always at least one carrier from either Britain or France in operation.

-- Support for the A400M transport planes. The two countries have agreed to develop a "common support plan" for the aircraft, which both are buying, and are in final talks on a single contract with manufacturer Airbus, due to be signed in 2011. There will also be greater cooperation in training.

-- Submarine technology. The two countries "plan to develop jointly some of the equipment and technologies for the next generation of nuclear submarines," with an agreement due in 2011.

-- Greater cooperation on mine-sweeping and satellite communications, as well as on cyber security and counter-terrorism.

-- Air-to-air refuelling. France may be able to benefit from "spare capacity" from Britain's Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft, which will carry out air-to-air refuelling and transport troops.

-- Procurement. The two countries will over the next 10 years look at the possibility of jointly procuring certain military projects, such as missiles.

-- Unmanned air surveillance systems. The two countries have agreed to work together on the next generation of such systems, potentially sharing development, support and training costs, to deliver between 2015 and 2020.

-- Research. Both countries will continue to invest 50 million euros (70 million dollars) each in shared research and development and could invest more.

© 2010 AFP

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