UK and France to Unveil $2 Billion Drone Project


U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande will unveil a 1.5 billion-pound ($2.1 billion) cooperative drone project when the two leaders meet in Amiens on Thursday.

Britain and France will commit 750 million pounds each to build a prototype unmanned aircraft that will be the “most advanced vehicle of its kind in Europe,” Cameron’s office said in an e-mailed statement. BAE Systems Plc, Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc and Dassault Aviation SA are among companies expected to benefit from the project, dubbed Future Combat Air System, the statement said.

Cameron will highlight how the U.K.’s membership of the European Union benefits both nations as he seeks to persuade voters to choose to remain in the bloc in a referendum on June 23. The two countries will use the meeting to increase police and security cooperation and commit to a “relentless” battle against terrorism, Cameron’s office said. The summit will also include foreign, home and defense ministers from both nations.

“The U.K.’s membership of the EU gives us greater security and greater capacity to project power globally,” Cameron said. “In an ever-more uncertain world, we gain from our membership of these international organizations.”

An ICM poll on Wednesday showed voters are evenly split between those who plan to vote to leave the bloc and those who want Britain to remain a member.

The drone project follows a 120 million-pound joint feasibility study and may also benefit Selex ES Ltd. in the U.K., as well as Safran SA’s Snecma unit and Thales SA in France, according to the statement.


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