The FC/ASW seeks to develop a new generation of deep strike and anti-ship missiles by 2030. It aims at replacing the capabilities provided by Storm Shadow/ SCALP air launched cruise missile in operational service in the UK and France as well as the Exocet anti-ship missile in France and the Harpoon anti-ship missile in the UK.
According to MBDA, the FC/ASW will be capable« to deal with the possibility of a confrontation on the high seas, a capability to neutralise the most advanced air defences, and a deep strike capability that can penetrate defences and hit long-distance hardened targets, » the European missile manufacturer said in a statement.
Valued at €100 million (US$113 million), the current Concept Phase was launched in 2017 for a duration of three years. The completion of the Key Review will now allow MBDA to establish the road maps for maturing the technologies required and to launch any follow-on assessment phase. This phase is due to conclude in 2020, after which France and UK will have to decide wether to proceed to a development and production phase which should be concluded by 2024 for the FC/ASW to come into service in 2030.
In the meantime, UK is considering an interim, off the shelf anti-ship missile solution for its current and future surface fleet (with the first Type 26 frigate set to be delivered around 2025). Dubbed Next Generation Surface Ship Guided Weapon (SSGW), the missile would be delivered starting December 2023.