|Paris - France will boost domestic arms orders this year to 20.3 billion euros ($26 billion) from 9.4 billion paid out to industry in 2008, Chief Executive Laurent Collet-Billon of the Délégation Génerale pour l'Armement (DGA) procurement office said March 14.
The outlook for 2009 would be "extremely strong," after a slight slowdown in 2008, which saw the publication of the white paper on defense and national security, the 2009-14 military budget law, and the public sector review, which reduces staff numbers, Collet-Billon said at a press conference on the DGA's 2008 results. The DGA paid industry 9.16 billion in the previous year.
Programs, on average, are 1.7 months late, compared with 1.5 months in the previous year and 3.5 months in 2005.
Part of the new orders would be the 1.2 billion euros brought forward from the military budget law and spent in the defense stimulus package, Collet-Billon said. Of the total orders, 820 million euros will be spent on research, compared with 67 million euros in 2008.
The strong order level would give visibility to French industry and bolster cash holdings of companies that could strike European strategic alliances, he said. In exchange, the DGA will seek significant price reductions from industry.
Arms exports were expected to rise to about 6.7 billion euros this year from 6.4 billion in 2008.
Among orders to be placed this year are for 60 Rafale F3 strike fighters from Dassault Aviation. With annual exports approaching 7 billion euros, foreign sales are a "fundamental activity" and essential to fully implement the military budget law, Collet-Billon said.
IMO => Too good to be true.....(sigh)