PARIS/LONDON, Nov 2 (Reuters) - 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)