Suggestions that the UK and French Navies might yet be able to co-operate over a future aircraft carrier design are increasingly being played down. French Navy officials concerned with the Charles de Gaulle (CDG), and officers from the Delegation Generale d'Armement (France's procurement agency) suggest that each nation would follow individual courses - not in anger or spite, but through realisation that only so much can be done collaboratively.
But this does not mean that the Royal Navy is not talking to its French counterpart - on the contrary, exchanges of information continue almost daily. And recently, the CV(F) Integrated Project team members were guests aboard the CDG for a series of information exchanges, although the French suggestion is that the UK side did most of the asking.
Reportedly, the Royal Navy has significant interest in aspects of the CDG. SATRAP stabilisation has attracted attention - as is the case with the USN - as well as the concept of operations for a smaller carrier. But key for the RN is that until an aircraft is selected for CV(F), deeper discussions with French opposite numbers are of little importance.
Some aspects of the UK's CV(F) programme do look to be firming up. Officially, the platform is meant to be between 40-50,000 tonnes, up to 25 per cent larger than the CDG.