|Large defence cuts announced in France today. Has to be ratified by their government, but unless they want to spend big, it's going to happen. Details nicked from Fantassin on arsse (http://www .arrse.co.uk/cpgn2/Forums/viewtopic/t=99178.html):
1) 54.000 jobs (both civilians & military) will be cut in the coming six or seven years.
The "Armée de terre" (army) will go down to 130,600 ( - 17%), the "Armée de l'air" (AF) will go down to 50,000 men (-25%) and the "Marine nationale" will go down to 44,000 men (-11%).
2) Decision on the second aircraft carrier is pushed back to 2011; same thing for the FREMM frigates.
3) Emphasis will be put on spatial defence with the creation of a dedicated command and new satellites will be launched
4) A new early warning system to detect balistic missiles will reach initial capability in 2015, being fully operational by 2020. (Hello Mr Bush...)
5) The "operational contract" of the army is now to be able to deploy 30.000 men 7/8000 km from their bases within a coalition during a year, in six months increment.
More (in French) at: secretdefense.blogs.liberation.fr/
Fantassin doesn't mention that the MN will drop down to 18 DDG/FFGs. Rumours that the Rafale buy will ber cut to 200 planes. When you think of the reports recently about maintainance difficulties they really are in trouble. On the other hand, one could argue that they are merely being realistic.
This also has big implications for us Brit's I think. The French spend roughly the same amount as we do - if they are having to make big cuts we may also have to again in due course.