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French defence export orders slide in 2020

Defence equipment export orders from France declined to their lowest levels in more than a decade in 2020, according to the country's annual defence export statistics report.

Defence orders declined almost 42%, from to EUR8.32 billion (USD10.12 billion) in 2019 to EUR4.86 billion in 2020. Deliveries similarly dropped by 57% from EUR9.92 billion in 2019 to EUR4.31 billion in 2020. Export licence approvals also declined, from 4,634 in 2019 to 4,236 in 2020.

In a foreword to the report, French minister of the armed forces Florence Parly noted that Covid-19 and the threat of a wider global economic slowdown had caused some countries to reduce defence spending, with a corresponding impact upon potential commercial contracts.

France's defence export orders declined to their lowest level in more than a decade in 2020. (Janes)

France's defence export orders declined to their lowest level in more than a decade in 2020. (Janes)

Minister Parly added that the increased focus on sales to European nations was beginning to bear fruit, following on from the Greek and Croatian decisions to acquire Dassault Rafale aircraft. This move builds on other successful sales in recent years, notably to Belgium, where export contracts for armoured vehicles and naval mine countermeasure systems have begun to move into production and delivery.

The appendix covering the country's submission to the UN's Arms Trade Treaty organisation, with significant transfers including the donation of 11 main battle tanks to Chad (likely to be ERC-90 armoured reconnaissance vehicles), 201 tactical vehicles and 71 armoured fighting vehicles to Saudi Arabia, 144 tactical vehicles to Kuwait, eight 105 mm artillery pieces to Saudi Arabia, eight combat aircraft to India and three to Qatar, and 20 disassembled helicopters to Uzbekistan.

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