The Ministry of Defence has reported advancements in the Anglo-French Future Cruise-Anti-Ship Weapon (FC/ASW) programme, as outlined in a written question submitted by Ben Wallace, MP for Wyre and Preston North.

The question was addressed by James Cartlidge, Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence.

Former Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace MP asked:

“What progress has his Department made on the Anglo-French Future Cruise-Anti-Ship Weapon programme.”

In his detailed response, James Cartlidge MP provided an update on the programme’s current status:

“The Future Cruise / Anti-Ship weapon programme is in the third year of the assessment phase and joint Anglo-France work is designing novel technological advances in missile capability. Significant progress has been made on suitable candidate weapon systems to fulfil the Naval and Air requirements.

At this stage of the programme, work is focused on reducing technical and schedule risk, prior to the potential Demonstration and Manufacturing phases, and preparations are underway to prepare towards Full Business Case. Additionally, progress is also being made to explore bringing Italy on board as a partner nation, with a Letter of Intent signed in June 2023.”

The Ministry of Defence previously confirmed the service entry for the maritime-launched Future Cruise/Anti-Ship Weapon to be 2028.

The information came to light in response to Labour’s defence spokesman John Healey MP and can be found below.

James Cartlidge MP, Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence, addressed the inquiry, stated, “The planning assumption for service entry for the maritime-launched Future Cruise / Anti-Ship Weapon is 2028; a decision around which options, including off the shelf choices, should fulfil this requirement is ongoing, and will be confirmed in due course in the Full Business Case.”

The FC/ASW initiative, co-developed by France and the United Kingdom and launched in 2017, is a successor to the jointly-developed Storm Shadow/SCALP, Exocet, and Harpoon anti-ship missiles. The programme, equally funded by both nations and spearheaded by European missile manufacturer MBDA, is outlined in the Lancaster House treaties.

In 2022, the programme was evaluating two missile concepts: a low observable subsonic cruise missile and a supersonic highly manoeuvrable missile, moving away from a previous focus on a hypersonic solution akin to the CVS401 Perseus.

The current trajectory of the FC/ASW programme involves completing the assessment phase by 2024 and proceeding to the manufacturing phase from 2025 to 2035. Notably, the programme plans to introduce two role-specific variants, with a deep-strike, land-attack variant expected to be operational from 2028 and an anti-ship variant from 2034.

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Lisa has a degree in Media & Communication from Glasgow Caledonian University and works with industry news, sifting through press releases in addition to moderating website comments.
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Mark B
Mark B (@guest_818862)
2 days ago

Is this Ben pointing out things that he started and checking they are going to plan?

Martin
Martin (@guest_818863)
2 days ago

A lot of business speak but not a lot else, must be an MP thing, answer some thing as vague as you can but try make sound as if lots has been done when really some bits of paper have been ok’d by some one, some where. And sent on to some else to look at.

Bringer of facts
Bringer of facts (@guest_818869)
2 days ago

In other words, it’s still ‘on the drawing board’

Tom
Tom (@guest_818879)
2 days ago

Has not even made it to the drawing board , still a idea in a glossy pamphlet.
17 years to produce a missile, we are all doomed I tell yer

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_818883)
2 days ago
Reply to  Tom

From the words this is how it sounds which makes the 2028 timeframe seem optimistic to say the least but then adds assessment will be made in 2024 so soon, and then move on to the manufacturing stage, while confusing matters with the aside that the choice may be off the shelf or not. I assume ‘manufacture’ means something different to them than me , ie development of a prototype product rather than manufacturing a given design, unless it’s off the shelf but again ‘off the shelf’ can’t mean existing in reality so must mean something derived from, so yup… Read more »

Hermes
Hermes (@guest_818886)
2 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

“I reckon reading between the maze like lines that it might well end up as the land attack being an extensive upgrade of Scalp/StormShadow with a fancy new name”

Already what the French have done with the MdCN.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_818891)
2 days ago
Reply to  Hermes

Aha a derivative of that will be what it is then almost certainly, or just an anglicised application of a slick name painted on top of that existing missile, as in its predecessor. I assume the timeline will be reachable with that option then. Thanks.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_818902)
2 days ago
Reply to  Hermes

I also notice that it has a submarine launched version which thinking about it others have alluded to before. Would that be compatible with our subs torpedo tubes? Aren’t torpedo launched Tomahawks to be discontinued? With double the range of SS this is certainly the baseline type of missile we need and that’s without any potential further developmental upgrades of the present version come 2028. Considering it’s been deployed since 2017 one might hope that this delay in acquisition means some further tweaking at the very least.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_818909)
2 days ago

Actually I believe there has been quite a lot of research and development done since 2011 – the current program is building on a lot of private venture work undertaken by MBDA. So I would suggest many of the sub-systems will probably be well advanced, particularly for the subsonic variant. In essence the politicians will be taking the credit for MBDA taking a business risk. I have a have of time for MBDA as they have done pretty well over the years with the complex weapons program. Cheers CR PS. A link in the next post as it’ll likely get… Read more »

Joe16
Joe16 (@guest_818928)
2 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

I agree with that more positive viewpoint. Despite all the business speak, if they’re at the stage of reducing technical and schedule risk that means something in my view of those terms: they have a few solutions on the table, and they’re seeing where existing systems can be utilised instead of new ones to reduce technical and schedule risk, whether some of the specs can be brought in to reduce design risk, and whether they can run some bits alongside reach other in the prototyping phase to improve schedule (probably incurring some cost). I also am a fan of MBDA,… Read more »

Bringer of facts
Bringer of facts (@guest_819003)
2 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Well, if they have sub-systems in development they should report that with evidence because otherwise, everyone including MBDA bosses will assume no progress.

A working prototype is needed.

Greg Smith
Greg Smith (@guest_819039)
2 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Lots of work was done a decade before your guess.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_818911)
2 days ago
DP
DP (@guest_818882)
2 days ago

Definitely a good decision to have procured the NSM as an interim and deploy it on most escorts. Given the addition of a new industry partner and the desire to achieve a hypersonic version, and the difficulties experienced by those that have managed to achieve the latter in prototype form to-date, I can only see a sub-sonic/super-sonic version emerging anywhere near the 2028 deadline, the hypersonic unlikely to appear any time soon.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_818894)
2 days ago
Reply to  DP

I think Hermes has nailed it, it’s the only serious way it can meet that deadline of 2028 (or whatever delay ensues). Can only be the answer to what seemed a ridiculous decision to leave a capability gap, perhaps at one stage thinking it might be a few years shorter as the expected Harpoon replacement missile was already under development…. If by the French. But still think it was a stupid decision even with their pink tinted time warping specs on. NSM will give us flexibility and fill out as introduction of any new missile won’t be swift leaving a… Read more »

Last edited 2 days ago by Spyinthesky
DP
DP (@guest_818898)
2 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

👍

Jim
Jim (@guest_818890)
2 days ago

This Missiles is suppose to be in service in four years and there isn’t even a picture. If this thing was real MBDA would be pumping out CGI video and trying to sell it all over the world.

More Tory lies I’m afraid.

SailorBoy
SailorBoy (@guest_818907)
2 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Ermm, no pictures?
Like that picture at the top of the article, made by MBDA, and the models they have been bringing to every industry fair? Those pictures?

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_818983)
2 days ago

Wow, the AShM version not likely before 2034. Good job we eventually allowed an interim AShM, the NSM. Otherwise our escorts would’ve had no major surface strike for a decade.

Paul42
Paul42 (@guest_819001)
2 days ago

Anti ship version in 10 years in 2034??? Just cancel and buy the latest Tomahawk which includes anti-ship capability and buy LRASM for air launched capability on F35B

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_819009)
2 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

That’s a bad idea. It’s slower, not stealthy, has too long range, no U.K. content and long delivery times.
How are the U.K. going to target a naval vessel up to 1000 miles away?
If anything more NSM would be better until this new supersonic missile arrives. 2034 could be sped up if funds were put into it.

Netking
Netking (@guest_819046)
2 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

I’m with you right up to the too long range part. Having the ability to hit a target as far away as possible can never be a problem.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_819075)
2 days ago
Reply to  Netking

Errr its a massive problem. A target ship 1000 miles away wont be anywhere near the aimed at target area when you launch. For ease of maths lets say Tomahawk does 400Knts. Target Ship doing 20knts . It will take 2 1/2 hours to fly to the aim point. By then the ship will be anywhere in a 8000 square mile area. The sensor head is limited in range and look angle. Get out of the sensor head basket and the missile will never even see you. So you need midcourse guidance from somewhere. Drone, helo and aircraft are possible,… Read more »

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_819107)
2 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Lovely explanation. The assumption that you fire a missile and it will magically hit the target is always amusing to me.
If it did work like that the U.K. could just base 5000 mile range missiles at bases around the world to provide worldwide coverage

Netking
Netking (@guest_819170)
1 day ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

There is nothing magical about this. Midcourse guidance and datalinks increasingly common on missiles and are part on the newest tomahawks.

Expat
Expat (@guest_819154)
1 day ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

So the US just upgraded it for fun then.

Netking
Netking (@guest_819168)
1 day ago
Reply to  Expat

lol, my point exactly. This is known capability and I’m surprised they aren’t aware that this is possible.

Netking
Netking (@guest_819175)
1 day ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

So you need midcourse guidance from somewhere.”

That’s the part I think you are forgetting. The blk 4 tomahawks have a new datalink for midcourse guidance so what’s stopping a f-35 or some other low observable aircraft or even a surface vessel from providing the targeting?

Challenger
Challenger (@guest_819023)
2 days ago

From the drawing board to service in the next 4 years. I don’t think so!

No anti-ship variant until 2034 at the earliest means NSM will be around for quite a while, presumably on the T45’s and 5 youngest T23’s before being transferred to the T31’s.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_819076)
2 days ago

Complex weapons hub involving MBDA has been a massive success story.
I would think the timeline is very doable. The anti ship bit will take time as its going to be a supersonic stealthy system.
Land attack has plenty of legacy systems to work from and improve upon. They are not starting from a blank sheet.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_819141)
1 day ago

Are both these missiles going to be both cannister and mk41/Sylver or just the vls? Any sub or air launched versions?
Wonder why the supersonic anti ship version taking so much longer? The UK has a lot of MK41 silos to fill with something!