A new programme of defence co-operation between the UK and France has been announced by British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy today, Tuesday 2 November 2010.
The programme is to be delivered through an overarching Defence Co-operation Treaty, a subordinate treaty relating to a joint nuclear facility, a letter of intent signed by Defence Ministers and a package of joint defence initiatives.
The announcement was made by the two leaders following a summit meeting held in London today.
This co-operation is intended to improve the collective defence capability through UK and French forces working more closely together, contributing to more capable and effective forces, and ultimately improving the collective capability of NATO and European Defence.
These measures build on commitments made in the recent Strategic Defence and Security Review to create stronger strategic defence relationships with the UK’s main allies whose security interests and military capabilities are closest to our own:
1. The UK and France are natural partners in security and defence. As permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, NATO Allies, European Union members, and Nuclear Weapons States, we share many common interests and responsibilities. We are proud of our outstanding and experienced armed forces and our advanced defence industries.
2. We are determined to act as leaders in security and defence. Security and prosperity are indivisible. That is why, between us, we invest half of the defence budget of European nations and two thirds of the research and technology spending. We are among the most active contributors to operations in Afghanistan and in other crises areas around the world. We are equally among the few nations able and ready to fulfil the most demanding military missions. Today, we have reached a level of mutual confidence unprecedented in our history.
3. Together we face new challenges such as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, terrorism, cyber attacks, maritime and space security. We must be ready to prevent, deter, defend against and counter those threats. More than ever, we need defence capabilities that are robust, can be rapidly deployed and are able to operate together and with a range of allies.
4. In addition, a threat to our vital interests could also emerge at any time. We do not see situations arising in which the vital interests of either nation could be threatened without the vital interests of the other also being threatened.
5. Today, we have decided to intensify our co-operation still further. We want to enable our forces to operate together, to maximise our capabilities and to obtain greater value for money from our investment in defence. We plan to increase the range and ambition of our joint defence equipment programmes, and to foster closer industrial co-operation.
6. We believe this co-operation will benefit all our Allies and contribute to the security of the Atlantic Alliance, the European Union and our friends overseas.
7. We have decided:
a) to sign a Defence & Security Co-operation Treaty to develop co-operation between our Armed Forces, the sharing and pooling of materials and equipment including through mutual interdependence, the building of joint facilities, mutual access to each other’s defence markets, and industrial and technological co-operation;
b) to collaborate in the technology associated with nuclear stockpile stewardship in support of our respective independent nuclear deterrent capabilities, in full compliance with our international obligations, through unprecedented co-operation at a new joint facility at Valduc in France that will model performance of our nuclear warheads and materials to ensure long-term viability, security and safety – this will be supported by a joint Technology Development Centre at Aldermaston in the UK;
c) to sign a Letter of Intent, creating a new framework for exchanges between our Armed Forces on operational matters;
d) to direct the UK-France High Level Working Group to strengthen its work on industrial and armament cooperation; and
e) to pursue joint initiatives in the areas detailed below
Operations and training
8. Combined Joint Expeditionary Force.
We will develop a Combined Joint Expeditionary Force suitable for a wide range of scenarios, up to and including high intensity operations. It will involve all three Services: there will be a land component comprised of formations at national brigade level, maritime and air components with their associated Headquarters, and logistics and support functions. It will not involve standing forces but will be available at notice for bilateral, NATO, European Union, United Nations or other operations. We will begin with combined air and land exercises during 2011 and will develop the concept before the next UK-France Summit and progress towards full capability in subsequent years. The Force will stimulate greater interoperability and coherence in military doctrine, training and equipment requirements.
9. Aircraft carriers.
The UK has decided to install catapults and arresting gear to its future operational aircraft carrier. This will create opportunities for UK and French aircraft to operate off carriers from both countries. Building primarily on maritime task group co-operation around the French carrier Charles de Gaulle, the UK and France will aim to have, by the early 2020s, the ability to deploy a UK-French integrated carrier strike group incorporating assets owned by both countries. This will ensure that the Royal Navy and the French Navy will work in the closest co-ordination over the next generation.
Equipment and capabilities
10. A400M support.
We are developing a common support plan for our future fleets of A400M transport aircraft. This will reduce costs, improve spares availability and open the way for further co-operation in maintenance, logistics and training, for both deployed and home-based operations. We are in the final stages of negotiations with industry to agree a single contract with Airbus Military, which is to be signed by the end of 2011 so that integrated support is in place for the arrival of the first French aircraft in 2013.
11. A400M training.
We will establish a bilateral Joint User Group to facilitate co-operation on the development of A400M training to inform operating techniques and procedures as well as exploring opportunities for synthetic and live training.
12. Submarine technologies and systems.
We plan to develop jointly some of the equipment and technologies for the next generation of nuclear submarines. To that end, we will launch a joint study and agree arrangements in 2011. Co-operation will help to sustain and rationalise our combined industrial base and will also generate savings through the sharing of development activities, procurement methods and technical expertise.
13. Maritime mine countermeasures.
We will align plans for elements of mine countermeasures equipment and systems. This could provide efficiencies, ensure interoperability and help sustain the Franco-British industrial base in the underwater sector. We will therefore establish a common project team in 2011 to agree the specifications for a prototype mine countermeasures system.
14. Satellite communications.
We will assess the potential for co-operation on future military satellite communications, with a view to reducing overall costs while preserving national sovereignty. We aim to complete a joint concept study in 2011 for the next satellites to enter into service between 2018 and 2022.
15. Air to air refuelling and passenger air transport.
We are currently investigating the potential to use spare capacity that may be available in the UK’s Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) programme to meet the needs of France for air to air refuelling and military air transport, provided it is financially acceptable to both nations.
Unmanned air systems
16. Unmanned Air Systems have become essential to our armed forces. We have agreed to work together on the next generation of Medium Altitude Long Endurance Unmanned Air Surveillance Systems. Co-operation will enable the potential sharing of development, support and training costs, and ensure that our forces can work together. We will launch a jointly funded, competitive assessment phase in 2011, with a view to new equipment delivery between 2015and 2020.
17. In the longer term, we will jointly assess requirements and options for the next generation of Unmanned Combat Air Systems from 2030 onwards. Building on work already started under the direction of the UK-France High Level Working Group, we will develop over the next two years a joint technological and industrial roadmap. This could lead to a decision in 2012 to launch a joint Technology and Operational Demonstration programme from 2013 to 2018.
18. We have reached an agreement on a 10 year strategic plan for the British and French Complex Weapons sector, where we will work towards a single European prime contractor and the achievement of efficiency savings of up to 30%. The strategy will maximise efficiency in delivering military capability, harness our technologies more effectively, permit increasing interdependence, and consolidate our Complex Weapons industrial base. We plan to launch a series of Complex Weapons projects in 2011 (development of the anti-surface missile FASGW(H)/ANL, assessment of enhancements to the Scalp/Storm Shadow cruise missiles, and a joint technology roadmap for short range air defence technologies). Co-operation in this industrial sector will serve as a test case for initiatives in other industrial sectors.
Research and technology
19. We will continue with our significant R&T co-operation, devoting an annual budget of EUR 50m each to shared research and development, with the aim of increasing this where possible. Our joint work will focus on a set of 10 priority areas that will include time critical research support to satellite communications, unmanned systems, naval systems and complex weapons. It will also include new areas of critical industrial importance such as sensors, electronic warfare technologies, and materials, as well as novel areas such as simulation and a jointly funded PhD programme.
20. Cyber attacks are an increasing challenge for the security of government and critical national infrastructure, especially at times of conflict. Our national infrastructures increasingly rely on connected information technology and computer networks. France and the UK will stand together in confronting the growing threats we face to our cyber security. We have therefore agreed a framework which will govern our enhanced co-operation in this crucial area, leading to strengthened individual and common resilience.
21. We are committed to confronting all forms of terrorism, at home and abroad, and remain vigilant in the face of the ongoing threat to our countries. We plan to develop our excellent co-operation in the following areas: the early detection of terrorist activities and terrorist recruitment; the sharing of information on changes in the national threat level; the prevention of terrorism through nuclear, radiological, biological, chemical and explosive devices, including through the Cyclamen programme for screening traffic passing through the Channel Tunnel; the protection of our populations and critical infrastructure; the security of commercial aviation; and our support to build the capacity of countries outside Europe for the fight against terrorism.
22. NATO remains the fundamental guarantor of Europe’s security. We share the same objectives for the forthcoming NATO Summit in Lisbon. In particular, we are looking for major decisions on reform to ensure NATO’s efficiency and effectiveness. We also want a new Strategic Concept that: makes clear NATO’s continuing commitment to collective territorial defence and to addressing threats to Allies’ security wherever they stem from; addresses new threats to Allies’ fundamental security interests; and underlines NATO’s desire to work with a wide range of partners. In this context, we will pursue closer co-operation across the board between NATO and the EU, and a lasting partnership between NATO and Russia based on practical co-operation and reciprocity.
23. As long as nuclear weapons exist, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance. British and French independent strategic nuclear forces, which have a deterrent value of their own, contribute to overall deterrence and therefore to Allies’ security. These national minimum nuclear deterrents are necessary to deter threats to our vital interests. We will support a decision in Lisbon on territorial missile defence, based on the expansion of the ALTBMD system, which is financially realistic, coherent with the level of the threat arising from the Middle East, and allows for a partnership with Russia. Missile defence is a complement to deterrence, not a substitute.
24. We continue to support the objectives and full implementation of decisions taken by the December 2008 European Council, under the French EU Presidency. In particular we encourage all European Union members to develop their military, civilian, and civilian-military capabilities, so that European countries can become more effective at delivering security and responding to crises.
25. European Union operations off the coast of Somalia and in Georgia, Bosnia and Kosovo contribute to the overall security of NATO Allies. We will encourage closer co-operation and complementarity between the EU and NATO. We look forward to further progress by the end of 2011 and will work with the Belgian, Hungarian and Polish EU Presidencies to that end.
26. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery is among the most serious threats to international peace and security. We will work to strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, one of the cornerstones of the international security architecture, and will support ongoing efforts across its three pillars: non-proliferation, the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and disarmament. We call on all countries to adopt robust measures to counter proliferators such as Iran and North Korea.
27. Iran’s nuclear proliferation activities and its persistent violation of IAEA and UN Security Council Resolutions are of the utmost concern. A choice by Iran’s leaders to respect these Resolutions and to resolve the concerns of the international community would open up a wide range of new opportunities for the Iranian people. We call on Iran to engage in serious dialogue with the Six in order to agree a credible solution, consistent with Security Council Resolutions that would provide a long term guarantee of the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme. Until such a solution is in place, we call on all countries to follow the EU’s lead by implementing stringent, targeted sanctions.
28. We commend the bravery and sacrifice of our forces in Afghanistan and of their Afghan and ISAF comrades. The long term stability of Afghanistan and Pakistan and the elimination of the terrorist threat are crucial for our security. Afghan and international efforts are bearing fruit. We will enhance our contribution to the NATO-led effort to train Afghan forces. At the NATO Summit in Lisbon, we expect NATO to launch an orderly transition process for the transfer of security responsibilities to the Afghan authorities, in those areas where the conditions allow. We also call on the Afghan authorities, consistent with their commitments, to improve governance and to fight drug trafficking. We support the Afghan government’s efforts to extend a hand to insurgents who renounce terror, cut all ties with Al Qaeda and accept the Afghan Constitutional framework.
29. We recognise the major challenges faced by Pakistan: devastating floods, violent extremism and militancy, democratic reform, and economic stability. We are determined to help Pakistan transform itself into a more stable, prosperous and democratic country by providing development assistance and supporting greater trade and investment. We will build a long term partnership with Pakistan, both bilaterally and through the EU and the Friends of Democratic Pakistan group. While we recognise the increased actions taken by Pakistan towards tackling violent extremism within its borders, we call on Pakistani civilian and military authorities to redouble their efforts to fight and defeat terror networks and Taleban sanctuaries.
30. We have instructed the Senior Level Group, which will be set up under the terms of the new Treaty for Defence and Security Co-operation, to oversee work in all of these areas and to report back to us at our next Summit to be held in France in 2011.