France's senior defence procurement official has called on UK companies to respond to more French tenders and to increase their investment in France.

Yves Gleizes, director of France's defence procurement agency DGA, told representatives of government bodies and industry leaders from both countries in London last week: "I would like to strengthen our already rich co-operation by developing joint work on armament programmes and on the technological capacities we need to master in the future."

He added: "This work involves not only government services, but also industry in both our countries. So I encourage British industry to answer French calls to tender more often - and also to invest more strongly in our country."

Lord Bach, the UK minister for defence procurement, says he is pleased at the level of French investment in the UK, and stresses that France-UK co-operation is already strong. The two countries are working together on technology demonstrators which should lead to future collaboration.

Late last year six European countries signed up to the European Technology Acquisition Plan (ETAP) which aims to develop new defence capabilities up to 2020. The programme will focus on command, control, communications, computers and intelligence; conventional air-launched cruise missiles; manned and unmanned aircraft (UAVs) and combat UAVs. ETAP, which also includes Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden, follows long-running France-UK co-operation in radars, aero-engines and electro-optical systems.

The second largest defence company in the UK, after BAE Systems, is France's Thales.

Source: Flight International