Crashed before take-off: the Anglo-French Variable Geometry programme, 1965-1967

Andrew D James, Phil Judkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The 1967 withdrawal of the French government from negotiations on the Anglo-French Variable Geometry (AFVG) military aircraft programme cast a long-lasting shadow over armaments cooperation between Britain and France. This paper explores the reasons behind the collapse of those negotiations and illustrates the balance that sovereign nations have to strike between defending their own interests in joint projects and seeking mutual benefit from them. The AFVG negotiations provide further evidence of the difficulties that governments face in harmonising their military requirements, replacement schedules and budgets and the role of domestic interests not least industry. Our account of the AFVG goes further and emphasises the impact of power asymmetries between the French and the British, and the escalating commitment of the British to what many observers saw as a failing course of action.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-73
Number of pages23
JournalHistoire, Économie et Société
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


  • European armaments collaboration; Anglo-French relations; international negotiation


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