France will not take the path of Poland, or even Germany, which have planned to swell their numbers and buy dozens of tanks and fighter jets in the face of an increasingly unpredictable and aggressive Russia. . The French army of 2030 will be more or less the same size as that of today with 275,000 soldiers, an equivalent number of heavy tanks (200) and fewer Rafale fighters (137 against 185 previously planned). The cavalry will certainly considerably modernize its fleet of armored combat vehicles with the arrival of a hundred Jaguars (against 300 expected previously), and several hundred Griffons and Servals, all equipped with the new Scorpion live transmission system, but it will finally end up with hundreds of less armored vehicles within six years, the catch-up being postponed to 2035.
The number of conventional melee infantry will drop by around 10,000, as many soldiers who will be trained in new tasks in robotics, drone driving, electronic warfare and cyber within each regiment. “The army will undoubtedly be downgraded compared to Poland and Germany, notes the vice-president of the defense commission, the deputy LR Jean-Louis Thiériot. Yesterday like today, we will not be able to engage alongside NATO a complete army corps (around 30,000 men). But the military programming law plans to fill many gaps. Starting with the purchase of river crossing boats, which France had abandoned. Or artillery that will go from 58 Caesar guns and 33 AUF1 to 108 Caesar guns, as well as consolidated ammunition stocks. “We will provide our units with the capacity to train at high intensity by having more simple and complex ammunition,” the Ministry of Defense promises.
As for the sailors, they save the essentials, with the launch of the construction of the future nuclear aircraft carrier, intended to replace the Charles-de-Gaulle around 2038. “If it does not change format, the navy will no longer be efficient by 2030”, notes Jean-louis Lozier. The five Lafayette frigates, which have had their day, will be replaced by three defense and intervention frigates, versatile and powerfully armed ships, the last two to be delivered by 2035. Another change expected, the first seven patrol boats offshore will come to strengthen the protection of the coast in mainland France.