PARIS/LONDON Nov 2 France's Dassault Aviation
(AVMD.PA) and Britain's BAE Systems (BAES.L) have made a joint
proposal to develop unmanned planes for the two countries as
part of closer military ties, defence sources said on Tuesday.
The two defence companies spelled out their ideas in a
letter to the leaders of both countries timed to coincide with
an Anglo-French summit on defence co-operation. [ID:nLDE6A10MM]
"There has been a joint offer," one source familiar with the
matter said, adding the two companies had called for closer ties
between Britain and France to maintain technologies needed to
develop future unmanned fighter programmes.
A second source said the letter suggested that if the two
countries wanted to maintain capability in military aircraft,
"then they really need UAV programmes to sustain that and given
budget pressures, collaboration is probably the most sensible
way to go".
However they are likely to face competition from European
aerospace group EADS EAD.PA which is already in talks with
France, Germany and Spain over unmanned aerial vehicles.
One industry source said Britain was likely to put its own
requirements out to a competitive process.
(Reporting by Tim Hepher, Rhys Jones, Cyril Altmeyer; Editing
by Hans Peters)