Thursday, December 7, 2023

Germany vs India: Should France revise its defense industrial cooperation doctrine?

Shortly after his accession to the Élysée in 2017, President Emmanuel Macron undertook to give substance to one of the key objectives of his international and European action, by agreeing with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to make the Franco-German couple the pivot of the emergence of a Europe of Defense.

Rafale and German Typhoon by 2040 , the new generation MGCS battle tank to replace the Leclerc and Leopard 2 in 2035; the CIFS long-range artillery program to replace the Caesar and Pzh2000 as well as the LRU of the Army and the Bundeswehr, the MAWS patrol aircraft to replace the Atlantique 2 and the Orion P-3C as well as as the Tiger III program and its long-range anti-tank missile, to modernize the fleet of Tiger combat helicopters and replace the Hellfire and Spike missiles currently used.

Launched when tensions between Angela Merkel and Donald Trump were at their height, these programs quickly fizzled out when Berlin and Washington softened their positions, and even more so after the arrival of Joe Biden in the White House.

P8 Poseidon
The announcement of the acquisition of P8A Poseidon from Patrouille Maritime to replace the P-3C Orion of the Luftwaffe, sounded the death knell for the MAWS program, even if Berlin denies it

This is how successively, the Tiger III helicopter and its missile, the CIFS artillery system and the MAWS maritime patrol aircraft were, if not strictly abandoned, Berlin having never openly arbitrated over their subjects, in any case. case forgotten until Paris undertook to develop these capabilities in another way, in the face of operational pressure and looming deadlines.

After coming close to an in-flight explosion surrounding the tensions between Dassault and Airbus DS over the piloting of the first pillar of the FCAS program, the design of the NGF combat aircraft itself, it ended up being taken out of the rut, recently, to launch the design phase of the prototype, with the help of firm and determined intervention from the French, German and Spanish ministers, but not without significant delay having led France to launch a Rafale F5 program which is much more ambitious and therefore capable of providing temporary work both in the operational and commercial fields.

As for the MGCS program, it is today at a standstill, particularly after Berlin imposed the integration of Rheinmetall in 2019, profoundly destabilizing the initial balanced industrial sharing between the French Nexter and the German KMW, for opportunity brought together in the KNDS joint venture.

In addition, it is now facing the resumption of global demand for heavy tanks following the war in Ukraine, leading to a profound reconfiguration of the market and therefore significant shifts in schedules potentially very beneficial for German industry. , but catastrophic for industry and the French armies.

a kmw leopard 2a7 with trophy aps at nato day 2022 4608 x v0 9cxnnjwz5afa1.jpg
The upheaval in the heavy tank market following the war in Ukraine has put the Leopard 2 in its new A8 version back in the spotlight, leading to a postponement of the MGCS program

With this picture already largely underway regarding the possible construction of defense Europe on the basis of the Franco-German couple, the new Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced, at the end of August 2022, the launch of the European Sky Shield initiative , aimed at pooling and organizing the means of detection and engagement of European countries in the field of anti-aircraft and anti-missile warfare.

If 14 European countries joined the initiative at its launch, France is not participating, without really knowing whether this is a refusal by Paris or a German initiative having voluntarily excluded the France and especially its industrial solutions in this area.

In fact, it is clear that the objectives targeted in 2017 are no longer relevant, while no one is able to predict whether MGCS and even FCAS will actually reach their end. But the difficulties encountered by Paris in recent years with Germany are not specific to this country, far from it.

LOGO meta defense 70

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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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