The UK Royal Air Force’s Eurofighter Typhoon platform is expected to be provided a significant addition to its future air-to-surface capability after it was revealed the aircraft will field the Future Cruise/Anti-Ship Weapon (FC/ASW) by the beginning of the next decade.
In a series of parliamentary written responses published on July 8, Minister of State for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin stated that the FC/ASW will enter service with the Royal Navy’s Type 26 frigates from 2028 and the Typhoon fighters from 2030 onwards.
The FC/ASW programme was established by the UK and France in 2010 to produce a new generation of missiles to replace the Exocet and Harpoon anti-ship missiles in service with the Marine Nationale and Royal Navy respectively, as well as the Storm Shadow/SCALP cruise missile.
In 2017 a three-year, €100m Concept Phase was initiated that would see missile manufacturer MBDA mature systems and technologies that would be used in the programme. However, according to Quin the FC/ASW was due to be completed in July 2021, significantly behind the earlier planned schedule.
“The Concept Phase has been focussed on conducting in depth operational analysis, technical studies and initial design activity to refine user requirements and better understand the options available to [UK Ministry of Defence] to meet these,” stated Quin in the written parliamentary response.
The Concept Phase findings will form part of the Programme's Outline Business Case for Ministerial consideration, it was added.
To date, £95m has been spent by the UK Ministry of Defence on the FC/ASW programme and associated activities. In UK service the FC/ASW capability will be known as the Perseus missile.