The new aircraft carrier of the French Navy again threatened by budgetary arbitrations

On the occasion of the presidential greetings to the armies at the end of January, President Emmanuel Macron had outlined the main lines of the future Military Programming Law 2024-2030 currently being prepared. Thus, the budget allocated to the Armed Forces over this period should reach €400 billion, plus €13 billion in exceptional revenue, while certain programs, including the very emblematic New Generation Aircraft Carrier, or PANG, were confirmed by the President. However, since this announcement, contradictory signals have been issued by the Ministry of the Armed Forces, the General Staff as well as the cabinet of the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne. As for the General Staff and the Ministry of the Armed Forces, they have been very active in rescheduling industrial programs with the aim of satisfying a new budgetary constraint imposed by the Head of Government.

Until now, the hypothesis of a linear progression of the defense effort, of the order of €4 billion per year, was often mentioned. This approach would have allowed a controlled increase in expenditure, but also the financing of a real rise in power of the French defense industry, without causing too large shocks or variations that are just as harmful for manufacturers as for the military. But it seems that in the face of budgetary and economic difficulties linked to the international context, and in particular the destabilizing effects of inflation on public spending, the French Prime Minister has imposed that the budgetary increase in the Armed Forces budget be limited from 2024 to 2027 to €3 billion, the same as that experienced by the armies in 2023. This is, in fact, a replica of what was done around the LPM 2019-2025, which provided for an increase of 1,7 €.2019 billion per year of the army budget over the period 2022-3, then €2023 billion per year from 2025 to 2022. Obviously, the pivot date of XNUMX was not chosen by chance, since it was of the end of President Macron's five-year term, which made many commentators fear, including within the General Staff, that the previous LPM would never be fully executed.

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The French Navy should only receive 3 of the 4 Jacques Chevallier-class Fleet Supply Vessels

In the end, this will not be the case, since even when the next LPM will begin in 2024, it will obviously perpetuate the increase of €3 billion per year forecast by the previous one. However, since then, the international context has evolved considerably, as has the reality of the military threat. Above all, everything now leads us to believe that the next LPM will be built on the exact model of the previous one, namely an increase of €3 billion per year over the period covering the current five-year period from 2024 to 2027, then of €6 billion. per year for the 3 years beyond, from 2028 to 2030, marking with the seal of uncertainty its full and complete execution, even though it proves to be absolutely essential to, if not avoid, in any case postpone the risk of downgrading of France in terms of defence. Obviously, the new budgetary deal imposed by Matignon requires a redistribution of resources within the programs. And in this area, the Navy, recently presented as largely favored by the Arbitrations of the Ministry of the Armed Forces for the upcoming LPM, seems to be destined to play the role of an adjustment variable, by losing or carrying over more than the LPM, 1 of the Force's 4 supply vessels, 3 of the 6 large mine warships, 3 of the 10 ocean patrol boats and by postponing the launch of the PANG program for 2 years.

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