The objective of the FC/ASW Programme is to replace from 2028, the capabilities currently in service within the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force (RAF), Marine Nationale (French Navy), and Armée de l’air et de l’espace (French Air Force) for anti-ship and deep strike missions.
Preparatory work has been underway since 2017 culminating in two weapon concepts. With these new contracts, MBDA, the European missile company, and its industrial partners from the two countries, will continue to work on the definition of two missile designs and will assess their performance to counter future threats and to deliver operational advantage through long-range strike.
Since the beginning of the 2000s, France and the United Kingdom have been cooperating in the field of complex weapons on various bilateral programmes, such as the SCALP / Storm Shadow missile and the Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (FASGW), as well as multilateral programmes such as the Aster missile with Italy and Meteor. This cooperation is one of the main pillars of the Lancaster House Treaties signed on November 2, 2010.
Following the Lancaster House agreement of 2010, France and the United Kingdom launched in 2017 a joint program with the goal to replace their cruise and anti-ship missiles circa 2030.
Named FC/ASW for Future Cruise/Anti-Ship Weapon (or FMAN/FMC for futur missile anti-navire/futur missile de croisière in French), the program is led by European missile leader MBDA. The FC/ASW aims to replace the air launched Scalp/Storm Shadow as well as the air and ship launched Exocet and Harpoon anti-ship missiles currently in service with French and British air forces and navies.
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.
MBDA announced the successful achievement of the FC/ASW (Future Cruise/Anti-Ship Weapon) “Key Review” phase, jointly conducted with the British Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) and the French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA) in 2019. In a written parliamentary question Jeremy Quin, British Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence revealed that the FC/ASW will equip both navies, Royal Navy and French Navy (Marine Nationale) starting 2028.
In the meantime, UK was considering an interim solution to replace the obsolete Harpoon Block 1C, 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 Interim Surface Ship Guided Weapon (I-SSGW), the missile were set to be delivered starting December 2023. However the plan was cancelled in early 2022: