UK, France agree military deals

Wed, Jul 25, 2012, 01:00

Britain and France signed two agreements today for further cooperation on the use of military drones, the British Ministry of Defence said.

British defence minister Philip Hammond and his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, pledged closer military ties and called the countries co-operation as "natural as it is necessary."

"We will continue to draw on each other's strengths and respective investments to get the best possible support for our Armed Forces," Mr Hammond said in a statement.

The agreements came as Mr Le Drian made his first visit to London since taking office in May, following the presidential victory of Francois Hollande.

The first agreement represented the initial phase of a collaborative "demonstration programme" for a Future Combat Air System, or Fcas, unmanned air system.

The other agreement enables cooperation between the two nations on the Watchkeeper Tactical unmanned air system, which provides the British armed forces with surveillance and reconnaissance.

The neighbours already have a close defence relationship, and the latest agreements signal Mr Hollande's intention to maintain the defence and security cooperation treaty signed last year by his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, and prime minister David Cameron.