The United Kingdom and France have confirmed the launch of the preparation works for the Future Cruise / Anti-Ship Weapon (FC/ASW) programme, after the signature today of a government agreement and associated contracts by the French Direction générale de l’armement (DGA) and the British Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S). These preparation works will focus on the co-ordinated development of a programme of next generation deep strike and heavy anti-ship weapons. It will assess two complementary missile concepts, expected to be fielded at the end of the decade: a subsonic low observable concept and a supersonic, highly manoeuvrable concept.
Eric Beranger, CEO of MBDA said: “The FC/ASW programme is an example of the value of the ‘One MBDA’ integrated model. By combining technology, industrial capacity and funding across borders, we can deliver unique and advanced sovereign capabilities. Following the conclusion of the FC/ASW Concept Phase, the confirmation of the launch of these preparation works testifies the renewed confidence of our two countries towards MBDA. The project will take advantage from our sustained French/UK Centres of Excellence. This reinforcement of MBDA’s portfolio of deep strike and anti-ship systems will allow MBDA to offer to our armed forces, whose satisfaction is our priority, a cutting-edge solution fitted to their requirements and adapted to all existing or future operational needs.”
These concepts are to meet the requirements of France and the UK and will provide a game changing capability to overcome land-based and maritime threats, hardened targets and air defence systems, at very long ranges and in increasingly contested battlespace environments. FC/ASW will complement MBDA’s portfolio of existing products that continue to be evolved to adapt to new threats. The FC/ASW is a program launched by France and the United Kingdom to develop a missile system to replace their jointly-developed Storm Shadow/SCALP as well as their respective Exocet and Harpoon anti-ship missiles.
Equally funded by both countries, the project is led by European missile manufacturer MBDA and is a product of the close defence relationship set out between both nations by the Lancaster House treaties. The concept study of the FC/ASW, unveiled in 2011 at the Salon du Bourget in Paris, was called Perseus or CVS401 Perseus (named after the Greek hero Perseus), a stealth hypersonic cruise missile concept study undertaken by MBDA in consultation with the Royal Navy and French Navy. It was produced by 10 engineers working on the design for six months. The FC/ASW is powered by a ramjet motor, is 5 metres in length, weighs around 800 kg and has a payload comprising one 200 kg main and two 50 kg subsidiary warheads.