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France bets big on space, cyber, and robotics in new defence budget

Space is set to benefit in France's 2024 defence budget, with programmes such as Syracuse IV (pictured) and Syracuse V receiving funding. (Thales Alenia Space)

France has allocated over a billion euros towards the space, cyber, and robotics domain in 2024, according to the 2024 Projet de loi de finances (PLF) defence budget.

Published on 11 October, the PLF has earmarked EUR47.5 billion (USD50.2 billion) for defence spending in 2024, EUR3.3 billion more than the previous year. Investment will be channelled towards continuing to modernise the armed forces and preparing for the ‘tomorrow wars' through the investment in the space and cyber domains.

For space, a total of EUR600 million has been allocated – the largest share of funding for any planned defence programme or focus area under the PLF. Along with the acquisition of 11 Syracuse IV satellite communication (satcom) ground stations, the investment will fund spatial observation technologies and the strengthening of active defence capabilities. The latest very-high-resolution satellite – Composante Spatiale Optique (CSO) – will also be launched in 2024 as well as the Syracuse V programme.

More broadly, EUR1.2 billion will be invested towards developing emerging technologies such as directed energy weapons and “capabilities in active [space] defence”. In addition, funding will support the exploration of the deep seabed and large-scale demonstrations such as ‘drone swarming' and remotely operated munitions.

Active defence is an approach that aims to “discourage or negate any attempt by adversaries to threaten our interests in space. To ensure credibility, this defensive posture must be supported by the capability to achieve military effects”, a spokesperson from the French Air and Space Force told Janes

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