France unveils €413 billion military budget spread over next 7 years, amid Ukraine war

On April 4th, the French government unveiled the new Military Programming Budget (LPM), which is €100 billion higher than the previous seven-year budget. Sébastien Lecornu, French Minister of Defense, described this LPM as an “unprecedented increase in the defense budget”.

The reason for this increase is the “very rapid deterioration of the geopolitical context” caused by the war in Ukraine, as well as the high cost of numerous technological advancements. The goal is to address “operational emergencies” related to drones and anti-drone warfare, which have become increasingly important due to the war in Ukraine, as well as to mitigate the impact of inflation.

However, even with the increased funding, not all planned needs will be met. The SCORPION program, which aims to upgrade the army’s armored component with interconnected vehicles, will be most affected by budget and procurement decisions. As a result, there will be fewer Jaguar armored vehicles than initially planned, and the delivery of a few hundred Griffon and Serval armored vehicles will be postponed until after 2030. To compensate, the VAB and AMX-10RC vehicles’ lifecycle will be extended.

The delivery of 42 Rafale fighter aircraft, which were originally scheduled for between 2027 and 2030, has been postponed until 2032. This means that the Air Force will have 137 Rafales in 2030 instead of the originally intended 185. Similarly, the French Navy will only have three of the five defense and intervention frigates it was supposed to have in 2030. However, programs related to nuclear deterrence or the delivery of the next-generation aircraft carrier in 2038 will be maintained.

In the space sector, Paris will fund studies on the next generation of Celeste electromagnetic intelligence satellites and the successor to the Yoda patrol satellite program, which is intended to keep other spacecraft away from French satellites. However, the third Syracuse IV communications satellite has been abandoned.

Paris also intends to increase its efforts in ammunition and artillery due to the lessons learned from the war in Ukraine, with a focus on CAESAR self-propelled howitzers and replacing the Unitary Rocket Launchers (LRU, the French name for the M270 MLRS) with American M142 HIMARS or a European solution in 2027.

The LPM will also finance the Future Air Combat System (SCAF) demonstrator and studies on the future Franco-German MGCS (Main Gun Combat System) tank.

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