Next year to see sharp increase in French defence budget

26 September 2018

The Aquitaine (FREMM)-class frigate Normandie being floated out on 1 February 2018. The ship will be handed over to the French Navy next year. Source: Naval Group

Key Points

  • France's 2019 defence budget is expected to be EUR39.5 billion: a sizeable increase over 2018
  • However, slow platform and weapon deliveries continue to plague the French armed forces

France’s 2019 finance bill provides for a sharp increase in the country’s defence budget, which is expected to amount to EUR39.5 billion (USD46.2 billion): an increase of EUR1.7 billion compared to 2018.

The progress is in line with what was announced under the 2019-2025 Military Programming Law. No less than EUR19.5 billion will be spent on the purchase of new equipment, which is an increase of EUR1.3 billion from 2018. The maintenance of equipment will also be the subject of a sustained effort with a budget of EUR4.2 billion: up 8% over 2018. The French Ministry of Defence also plans to create 450 jobs next year, three quarters of which will be devoted to cyber security and intelligence. Finally, EUR800 million will be spent on overseas operations, which is an increase of EUR200 million over 2018.

A wide range of purchases has been announced for 2019. It is a good year for the French Navy, which will receive no less than five new ships: the Aquitaine (FREMM)-class frigate Normandie , two BSAH high seas support ships, one PLG light patrol ship, and one B2M multi-mission ship. The PLG and the B2M will be based in the French Antilles.

In 2019 the navy will also order the first three 26,000-tonne support ships from the FLOTLOG programme. Entry into service for the first two is expected in 2025. After a delay of several years, six patrol craft from the BATSIMAR programme will also be ordered.

The French naval aviation arm, meanwhile, will receive two upgraded Atlantique 2 maritime patrol aircraft, one upgraded E-2C Hawkeye, and two new NH90 Caïman helicopters. In terms of munitions, the navy will get 48 Aster 30 missiles, 6 Artemis heavy torpedoes, and a first batch of submarine-launched cruise missiles for the future Barracuda nuclear-powered attack submarine.

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