John Reid, Secretary of State for Defence, pictured with Madame Alliot-Marie, the French Defence Minister, after a Guard of Honour on Horseguards Parade.
[Picture: Ian Nelson]
Following today's meeting with French Defence Minister, Madame Michèle Alliot-Marie, Defence Secretary John Reid said:
"We have taken a very significant step forward on the future carrier project in agreeing how the UK will proceed on cooperation with France.
"The carrier project will ultimately provide the UK Armed Forces with the largest and most powerful warships ever constructed in the UK. It is a vital project for France, the UK and for Europe and shows our joint commitment and leading role in Defence and Security.
"We have agreed that France will pay one third of the demonstration phase costs of the common base line design.
"We have also agreed on staged payments to be made by France in recognition of the investment the UK has already made in the design. This will comprise £30m now and £25m in July with a further £45m at the end of the demonstration phase if France decides to continue with the project.
"There are details to be wrapped up, but our agreement covers arrangements for the management of the project for the next 12 months."