Monday, December 11, 2023

Rafale , Caesar, FDI, Scorpene…: What are these French defense equipment that are exported so well today?

Order intake for exports of French Defense equipment reached €11.7 billion in 2021, the third best year ever recorded by this industry, while 2022 promises to be one of all records to more than €20 billion, in particular due to the order for 80 Rafale aircraft by the United Arab Emirates for more than €14 billion. In fact, since 1950, France has moved between 3rd and 4th place in the world ranking of arms exporters, behind the United States, the Soviet Union/Russia, and on par with Great Britain in this area. . French exports today represent more than 80,000 direct and indirect jobs, for an average turnover of €8.5 billion per year, representing 40% of the activity of this industrial sector.

In recent years, certain equipment has achieved great success on the international scene. Thus, the Rafale , which the Minister of Defense Hervé Morin in 2010 described as too complex, too expensive and unsellable, has now established itself as a historic success for the aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation and the entire Rafale Rafale , the aircraft having been ordered by 7 international customers: Egypt for 54 aircraft, Qatar for 36 aircraft, India for 36 aircraft, Greece for 24 fighters including 12 second-hand aircraft, Croatia for 12 second-hand aircraft , the United Arab Emirates for 80 fighters and recently, Indonesia which formalized a first order of 6 aircraft for a total order of 42 fighters . Other countries are in the ranks of potential customers, such as Serbia and Iraq , while India , Greece and Egypt are considering ordering new devices. In the end, the Rafale has already exceeded the expectations of the French manufacturers who participate in its manufacture with Dassault Aviation, such as Safran for the M88 turbojets, Thales for the onboard electronic systems including the AESA RBE-2 radar, and MBDA for air-to-air and air-to-surface/surface munitions and missiles.

nexter caesar 8X8
The heavy 8x8 version of Nexter's CAESAR was ordered by the Czech Republic and Denmark

If the Rafale alone represents more than half of French arms exports since 2015 in value terms, it is not an isolated success. Thus, Nexter's CAESAR truck-mounted cannon has carved out a significant market share in a very competitive sector in just a few years. It was thus ordered in a 6x6 version by Saudi Arabia for more than 130 copies, Indonesia for 55 copies, Morocco for 36 copies and Thailand for 6 copies, while Ukraine received 18 copies of this type. taken from the French inventory to strengthen its capabilities against Russia. Denmark and the Czech Republic have opted for the heavier and better armored 8x8 version, in 15 and 52 copies respectively. Finally, Belgium and Lithuania recently ordered the new Mk2 version also ordered by Paris to complete its inventory, respectively at 28 and 18 examples. As with the Rafale , the CAESAR could garner new orders, notably from Colombia , Spain and Iraq. There is also talk of a new delivery of systems to Ukraine, without it being known, for the moment, whether it is an order or a donation, nor of what version and according to what timetable this transaction must take place.

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Fabrice Wolf
Fabrice Wolf
A former French naval aeronautics pilot, Fabrice is the editor and main author of the site. His areas of expertise are military aeronautics, defense economics, air and submarine warfare, and Akita inu.

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