The United Kingdom and France July 30 issued a contract to BAE Systems and Dassault Aviation for a Future Combat Air System Demonstration Program Preparation Phase (FCAS DPPP) contract.

Chris Boardman, managing director, Military Air & Information, BAE, said: “BAE Systems and Dassault Aviation have been working together closely to ensure we maintain our status as leading providers of aerospace capability. The signing of this contract will ensure that both countries get the best return on their investment and positions the two companies well to meet any future Anglo-French requirements.”

Power systems company Rolls-Royce and French aircraft manufacturer Snecma signed a contract with the U.K. Ministry of Defense for studies on the next generation of combat aircraft engines.

Nick Durham, Rolls-Royce president of customer business, defense, said: "This collaboration agreement recognizes the need for airframe and power and propulsion system suppliers to work together to deliver an optimized affordable solution for the next generation of combat aircraft for the (United Kingdom) and France. It represents an important step towards increased collaboration and, by combining the experience and expertise of Rolls-Royce and Snecma, we can contribute a huge amount to these studies."

All four companies signed an industrial agreement to work in support of the FCAS DPPP contract.

The contract will propose a joint plan to mature and demonstrate critical technology and operational aspects of a future combat air system. It is expected that this will lead to a joint Unmanned Combat Air System demonstration and operational evaluation program, BAE said in revealing the work.

The two companies said they fully support their governments in their stated desire for closer bi-lateral defense relationships and support the two governments’ stated intention to investigate the potential for common UAS development programs in the future.

Since 2010, the two companies have worked closely to mature and develop further their common understanding of technology, capability and business opportunities in the Unmanned Air System (UAS) arena. 

This contract is the first UAS contract to come out of the Defense Accord signed at the Anglo-French Summit in November 2010, the company statement said.