France proposes big military spending increase

France unveiled Thursday a draft of its 2019-2025 military budget plan, setting €295 billion (U.S. $361 billion) on spending, which included better barracks, larger orders of Army armored vehicles, and studies on next-generation nuclear submarines and airborne nuclear missiles.

That spending plan compares to €190 billion in the present 2014-2018 budget law. The Armed Forces Ministry sees the budget law as a “renewal,” as the government seeks to “regenerate” the services. A first phase consists of €198 billion in the present five-year government term, with defense spending rising €1.7 billion each year to hit €44 billion in 2023. That compares to the 2018 budget of €34.2 billion.

The second phase for 2024 and 2025 assumes an annual €3 billion increase, with much depending on the macro-economic performance. A government review will be held in 2021 to decide what to commit in the following budgets. A general election will be held in 2023, so the next administration will decide how closely it follows the budget law. …

Other notable investments:

  • The Navy will receive the first four Barracuda nuclear-powered attack submarines, last three Fremm multimission frigates and first two FTI intermediate frigates.

  • There will be studies on arming the air defense version of the Fremm with the Aster Block 1 NT missile.

  • The Air Force will receive six armed Reaper drones, the first European medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV, 28 Rafale fighter jets and 55 upgraded Mirage 2000D fighters.

  • Acquisition of the A330 MRTT tanker transport aircraft will be increased to 15 from 12, with the first 12 delivered by 2023 and the remaining three shipped by 2025.

  • An annual €1.8 billion will be spent on concept studies on future weapons, including fighter jet, heavy tank and replacement to the nuclear-powered Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier.

  • The annual budget for feasibility studies will rise to €1 billion from €730 million.

France proposes big defense budget hike