The UK Ministry of Defence and the French government have signed a deal worth £500 million to jointly develop a helicopter-borne anti-ship missile.

The 100kg Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (Heavy)/Anti Navire Léger (FASGW(H)/ANL) will be carried by the Royal Navy’s new AW159 Lynx Wildcat helicopters.

Designed primarily to target vessels ranging from FIAC (Fast Inshore Attack Craft), through medium-sized FAC (Fast Attack Craft) up to large vessels such as Corvettes, it also has a surface attack capability against coastal and land targets.

This joint programme will replace legacy systems such as the British Sea Skua and the French-developed AS15TT anti-ship missiles.

FASGW(H)/ANL is suitable for blue water and cluttered littoral operations, and can engage automatically using sophisticated homing technology, or be operator-controlled, enabling mid-flight re-designation.

First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas said: "These state-of-the-art missiles will play their part in the maintenance of a credible Navy: not only will they provide the Fleet Air Arm with a continued battle-winning edge into the future, but they will also help to strengthen our partnership and interoperability with our good friends in the Marine Nationale."

This article was first published on the Strategic Defence Intelligence website. For more information, please click here.