What are the strengths and weaknesses of the French Army?

During his hearing before the Senate Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, the Chief of Staff of the Army (CEMAT), General Schill, declared that it would be a priority to restore to his army increased capacities in terms of artillery and close air defense in the occasion of the next Law of Military Programming. It is true, and we have on several occasions broached the subject in our lines, that these two areas are today part of the weak points of the Army, in particular to engage in a high intensity conflict. But through the declarations of the French General, and the observation of the reality of the forces present, in particular in the face of a powerful adversary, the Army, if it has particularly notable qualities and intrinsic forces, at the same time suffers from significant weaknesses. In this article, we will address both subjects, in order to understand the programmatic challenges to come in a particularly tense international context.

Advanced and sometimes unique operational capabilities

It is common to systematically denigrate the French Armies, and in particular the Land Army, in particular when one wants to compare it to other forces such as the Russian Army. However, it has many specific assets, constituting significant operational gains on the battlefield. We naturally think of the excellent operational level of the men who make up the Land Task Force, the armed wing of the Army, experienced in combat with numerous engagements in the Middle East and Africa. With the exception of the British Army, and the Russian Armies, no armed force in Europe displays such a hardening and combat know-how of its personnel, a critical factor in particularly high-intensity engagement.

VBMR Griffon Mali Military alliances | Defense Analysis | Artillery
The replacement of the venerable VAB, the VBMR Griffon, has recently been deployed on an external operation in Mali as part of Operation Barkhane. The Army is one of the armies with the highest rate of armor mobility in the world.

In addition, the French Army has the largest number of armored vehicles in Europe and in NATO, apart from the United States. With more than 3000 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, supported by more than 1200 light armored vehicles, the Army has the highest rate of armored transport for its forces, giving it mobility at fire without any equivalence in Europe. Even the Russian forces, with more than double the APC (Armored Troop Transport) and VCI (Infantry Combat Vehicle) in line, do not reach half of this French rate. In addition, beyond its heavy Leclerc tanks In short supply, the Army also has many self-propelled light combat vehicles, such as the AMX-10RC light tanks and its successor the EBRC Jaguar, further increasing this component which offers unparalleled armored maneuvering capability.

In the field of aeromobility, the Army also has a fleet of maneuvering helicopters of more than 100 NH-90, Puma and Cougars, as well as proven know-how in this field, always in favor of a maneuver wanting to be dazzling and decisive. Finally, it aligns several highly specialized regiments, in amphibious assault, engagement in mountainous environments, airborne assault and intelligence, giving it specific very high-level response capabilities, sometimes even envied by our most powerful allies. . Under these conditions, one can think that the Army is today largely on level to support the comparison with the armies of the European and Mediterranean theater. Unfortunately, it also suffers from major weaknesses inherited from 25 years of budgetary and capacity neglect.

Significant capacity weaknesses

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