Between ambition and disappointment: the new French military programming law under constraints

After several months of official statements, more or less intentional leaks and speculation, the new French Military Programming Law was unveiled yesterday. This will frame the French defense effort between 2024 and 2030, whether it is the budget devoted by the State to the mission, but also the format objectives and the industrial programs in progress or to come. Despite a sharply increased budget with €400 billion in state credits and €13 billion in exceptional revenue over the next 7 years, i.e. 35% more than the previous LPM, this will not allow reconstruction of the French Armed Forces to respond to current and future global security challenges, due to the very many constraints that apply to them, such as the expenditure commitments already planned, the exceptional needs for recapitalization of stocks, particularly in terms of ammunition, and the effects of inflation.

Thus, the format of the French armies will change very little over the next 7 years, whether in terms of human resources, which will see above all the numbers of the operational reserve doubled but whose active personnel will remain substantially the same , that in terms of staffing, the armies passing through a low point located between 2028 and 2030 in this area. As in the previous LPM, the budget progression will take place in two stages. Between 2024 and 2027, i.e. the end of the current five-year term, the budget will increase by €3 billion per year, then by €4,3 billion per year over the remaining 3 years. This is, as we have already discussed, a breakdown identical to that implemented during the LPM 2019-2025, which provided for an increase of €1,7 billion per year between 2019 and 2022, then €3 billion per year until 2025, divided by the electoral deadline. We can therefore be relatively certain of the application of the LPM until 2027, but hardly beyond. In addition, this budget increase does not include the €13 billion in exceptional revenue, without it being known precisely when this will actually be achieved.

EBRC Jaguar e1652367121220 Analysis Defense | Artillery | Fighter jets
Only 200 of the 300 Jaguar EBRCs will be delivered by 2030, some of the modernized AMX-10RCs having to go into extra time

While some programs have been shunned, especially those related to deterrence or with a strong political connotation such as FCAS and MGCS, most of the other major programs have undergone a slimming cure on the LPM, most of the time with a staggering of production and a catch-up beyond 2030. In this area, the 3 armies have also been affected. Thus, the Army will have only 200 of the 300 Jaguar EBRCs, 1345 of the 1808 Griffons and 1405 of the 2038 Servals from the Scorpion program, while only 160 of the 200 Leclercs will be modernized by this date. On the other hand, it will have the 109 planned CAESAR NG guns, as well as 24 Serval Mistral close-in anti-aircraft defense and 12 Serval LAD anti-drone systems, and all 17 planned Patroller land drone systems. Finally, it will receive at least half of the 26 long-range artillery systems planned in the long term, the American HIMARS system being often cited in this field, even if other alternatives, in particular national or European production, are not excluded.

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  1. […] In fact, if France actually aims to develop its own system, which would offer far from negligible operational added value in this area, it will probably be necessary to turn to other partners, beyond the European sphere, in the hope of achieving some export success. What is certain, however, is that the German announcements today play against the emergence of a French-designed rocket launcher system, while budgetary considerations are critical in the framework of the LPM 2024-2030. […]


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