Leadership: France Arms Itself For Growing Threats


October 26, 2015: France is increasing its defense spending two percent in 2016 to $37 billion. A year ago the plan was to cut defense spending seven percent. But Islamic terrorism and Russian aggression have changed things a lot. For the last decade France has been spending about 2.2 percent of GDP on defense and that has stayed the same despite domestic political pressure to reduce it. France and Britain have the highest spending (as a percent of GDP) in Western Europe. Russia, on the other hand, spends over four percent of GDP on defense. The U.S. spends 3.5 percent and China 2.1 percent.

The French budget will remain mostly (53 percent) for procurement. Thus in 2016 France will receive nine Rafale fighters, three A400M transport aircraft, five Tiger helicopter gunships, six NH90 transport helicopters, one frigate, 25 special vehicles for the special operations forces, and the first deliveries of SCALP cruise missiles for surface warships and nuclear submarines.  Procurement money is also going to other projects, like refurbishing Mirage 2000D fighter-bombers, construction of another frigate and a UAV equipped to clear mines. There is also money for development of new UAV designs, military spy satellites and other systems.



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