STUTTGART, Germany – The French Ministry of Defense is investing billions of euros in critical technologies and new equipment in 2022, as it sets its sights on a future battlefield dominated by advanced platforms, cyber defenses and space capabilities.
The budget, published on September 22, includes 40.9 billion euros [$49 billion] and reflects the nation’s commitment to increase its defense funds by 1.7 billion euros [$2 billion] year after year since 2019. This annual increase is a key element of the ministry’s military program law 2019-2025; in 2021, the ministry allocated 39.2 billion euros to its military forces.
For the fourth year in a row, the French defense budget has experienced a “massive” recovery and the 2022 budget represents an increase of 9 billion euros compared to the 2017 budget, Hervé Grandjean, spokesperson for the French government, told reporters on Wednesday. ministry. The French government has invested a total of 26 billion euros in defense over the past five years, a number that includes all annual budget increases, he noted.
The goal of next year’s funding is to focus on new areas of conflict – namely in space, cyber defense and intelligence – as well as operational units, Grandjean said. The French army is expected to number 273,000 people by 2022, including 208,000 soldiers and 65,000 civilians.
New generation technologies.
About € 1 billion will be disbursed by the National Defense Innovation Agency specifically to tackle next generation priorities, such as quantum technologies, artificial intelligence systems and directed energy weapons.
Part of this sum will also be allocated to two major development programs: the Franco-German-Spanish Future Combat Air System (FCAS) – known in France under the name of air combat system of the future (SCAF) – and the next-generation tank known as the Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) being co-developed by Paris and Berlin.
Grandjean did not disclose how much of the innovation agency’s funds would go to these two projects. He noted that FCAS staff intend to devote several billion euros between 2021 and 2027 to the development phase of the program. This phase includes a sixth generation fighter jet powered by a brand new engine, “loyal wing” type unmanned aerial systems (UAS) that will be deployed alongside it, a next generation weapon system, an assortment of new sensors and stealth technology, and a combat cloud system to help connect all the pieces.
Still in the field of emerging and disruptive technologies, the French army plans to spend 646 million euros in the space sector and 23 million euros in the field of counter-drones in 2022.
The Air and Space Force will receive a number of anti-drone jammer guns and plans to deploy an experimental counter-UAS laser weapon aboard a Navy ship at sea next year. The system, developed by the French company Cilas and co-financed by the French military supply agency, has already been successfully demonstrated on land a few months ago in Biscarrosse, according to the ministry.
About 231 million euros will go to cybersystems, and by 2022, France will recruit 2,000 additional “cyber-fighters” to increase their workforce in this area to 5,000 men. The country also plans to spend around € 11 million to develop a sovereign combat cloud capability.
Purchases and deliveries of key services.
The ministry expects several major equipment orders in 2022. The army plans to procure:
- 200 medium-range missiles;
- 396 armored vehicles, including Griffon, Jaguar and Serval vehicles;
- 50 improved Leclerc tanks, intended to extend the life of battle tanks and serve as a capability bridge until the MGCS enters service by 2035;
- 12,000 HK416 assault rifles.
The Navy plans to acquire 11 satellite ground stations, while the Air and Space Force is purchasing four upgraded C-130H military transport aircraft, as well as an SCCOA radar system.
In addition, 2022 will see “very significant deliveries” in all services, explained Grandjean. For the army, they include:
- 245 armored vehicles, including Griffon, Jaguars and Servals;
- 200 medium-range missiles;
- eight NH90 Army-variant multirole helicopters;
- 2 075 radios.
The Navy expects to receive:
- four upgraded ATL2 patrol aircraft;
- the first air defense variant of the French multi-mission frigate (FREMM), Alsace (D656) ;
- the second Barracuda-class nuclear attack submarine, the Duguay-Trouin;
- the first of four new “BRF” double-hull refueling tankers in the Jacques–Chevallier class, which will replace the aging naval monohulls Durance– class oil tankers.
The Air and Space Force expects to receive:
- three A330 MRTT in-flight refueling aircraft;
- two A400M military transport aircraft;
- two upgraded Mirage 2000D fighter jets.
In addition, several satellites will be launched in 2022. The service’s first Ceres electromagnetic intelligence system will enter orbit, kicking off what will eventually be a constellation of three satellites. A third CSO Earth Observation satellite will be launched, complementing this constellation, and the first Syracuse IV will be launched, to provide better connectivity to all areas and a necessary upgrade from the current Syracuse III satellite, said Grandjean.
“We need bandwidth, we need connectivity, and that’s what our new Syracuse IV satellites will give us,” he said, noting that these capabilities will be essential to activate the entire system. FCAS systems.
Maintenance and infrastructure.
French Defense Minister Florence Parly has made it a priority to ensure that the country’s military equipment is better maintained in the future, and this is why 300 million euros are allocated for maintenance , said Grandjean.
The ministry plans to spend around 2.4 billion euros on new equipment infrastructure. This will include the construction of the French Space Command headquarters and the NATO military space center of excellence, both based in Toulouse. The ministry also plans to build new infrastructure to house the Air Force’s A400M fleet, the army’s armored vehicles and the Navy’s Barracuda-class submarines.
Around 1.6 billion euros are spent on “small equipment”, such as 70,000 new units of fire-retardant and more breathable mesh clothing and 5,000 ergonomic bulletproof vests.
In total, the total budget of 40.9 billion euros for 2022 includes 23.7 billion euros for equipment and modernization; 12.6 billion euros for salaries; and 4.6 billion euros for utilities and day-to-day operations.
Of the increase of 1.7 billion euros compared to the 2021 budget, around 800 million euros are earmarked for armament programs and equipment maintenance, 600 million euros for equipment expenditure plus modest and improvements such as social benefits and housing, and 300 million euros in wages.
Sebastian Sprenger is Associate Editor for Europe at Defense News, which covers the state of the defense market in the region, as well as US-Europe cooperation and multinational investments in defense and security. global. Previously, he was the editor of Defense News.