France, Britain seal 2 billion euro UAV deal

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France and Britain agreed on Thursday to a 2 billion euro (1.49 billion pound) project to build a new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), as the two allies firmed up military ties amid conflicts in Syria and Libya.

President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister David Cameron met in northern France as part of a bi-annual summit commemorating the centenary of the Battle of the Somme in which 600,000 British and French soldiers died.

Cameron and Hollande announced plans for what they said was a new multi-use unmanned aircraft that would be ready for technical checks in 2020 and operational a decade later.
“This will be the most advanced of it kind in Europe,” Cameron told a joint news conference, saying the project would create significant numbers of jobs in both countries.

Each side will contribute equally to the Future Combat Air System project, based on a 120-million-pound joint feasibility study agreed in 2014, official said.

Britain’s BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce, along with Dassault Aviation, Safran and Thales of France, are taking part, they added.