Q - What is the status of the French-British project to build a combat drone? More generally, might Brexit and the French-German rapprochement on defense projects have an impact on the Lancaster House Agreement?
A - With respect to defense, French-British cooperation is particularly close, both on the operational and capacity fronts. This cooperation will not be undermined by Brexit because it is mainly bilateral, because of the political and strategic convergences between our two countries, which remain unchanged, and because of the strong integration of our industries.
Furthermore, the arms programs of the future were launched by France and the United Kingdom, including the Future Air Combat System (FCAS) involving Dassault and BAE Systems.
The meeting of the High Level Working Group last December helped us identify benchmarks that could lead to contracts for the demonstration phase of the FCAS combat drone. An agreement was signed on that occasion to begin an additional 12-month study phase.
As a reminder, the High Level Working Group is the governing body for French-British arms cooperation. It was created by the 2010 Lancaster House Treaty which establishes exceptionally intense cooperation between France and the United Kingdom on defense.
With Germany, there is a strong political will to strengthen our defense cooperation within the European framework, but also in a bilateral context. This was reaffirmed at the highest level at the Franco-German Defense and Security Council on July 13.
Cooperation in both cases is complementary.