I was in Paris on Wednesday, attending for the first time the annual state-of-the-nation briefing from France's defence procurement agency the DGA.
Amid all the usual stuff about budgets and procurement timelines were some interesting insights into the developing Anglo-French defence pact.
Later this year, the French army will begin evaluating the UK's Thales Elbit Hermes 450-based Watchkeeper tactical UAV with a view to a possible acquisition in 2013. The army, said the head of the DGA Laurent Collet-Billon, is very keen on Watchkeeper as a complement to its NH90 helicopters.
He also suggested strongly that the door was open to Germany and Italy joining a government-backed BAE Systems-Dassault Aviation project to design a medium altitude long endurance UAV for the end of the decade. EADS still insists its rival Talarion study - which Italy's Alenia is supporting - is viable, but it seems increasingly unlikely that Berlin and Rome will want to press ahead with the potentially billions of euros needed to develop a rival UAV to the Anglo-French Telemos system.
Ironically, Louis Gallois - a Frenchman - is left as the soon to depart head of EADS to fly the flag for a project championed by the Munich-based Cassidian defence business of the European combine, and which his countrymen are doing everything they can to undermine. Perhaps German heir apparent Tom Enders (currently head of Airbus) would rather the project died a death before he inherits responsibility for it this summer.