18th January 2016

2015: record year for French exports


by Christina Mackenzie and Nathan Gain France signed €16bn-worth of defence export contracts in 2015, a rise of nearly 100% on the €8.2bn recorded the previous year. French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told French TV station BFMTV on 14 January that “€16bn, [is] a record. It’s double the previous year’s figure and that one […]

Spain takes the driver’s seat


The NATO Rapid Deployable Headquarters (HQ NRDC-ESP) in Bétera, Spain, has started its year-long rotation as the Land Component Command of the NATO Response Force (NRF) 2016. It must be ready to deploy its first soldiers within 10 days and the entire force within two months of an alert. The military base near Valencia, midway along Spain’s […]

A green way to destroy missiles


A lot of highly classified equipment goes into making a missile so it was logical that European group MBDA should want to open a demilitarisation plant where the missiles it makes can be dismantled and destroyed at the end of their shelf-life. Jean-Yves Biton, head of the project, told FOB during a site visit yesterday, […]

Germany to train Libyan soldiers?


After deploying aircraft in Turkey and officially reinforcing its contingents in Mali (in the framework of the MINUSMA – the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali) and in Iraq, is Germany now going to send military instructors to train Libyan soldiers? According to the 9 January edition of the weekly magazine Der Spiegel, an […]

Operation Chammal overview


Operation Chammal, as the French armed forces name their mission in the Levant, was launched on 19 September 2014 to support U.S. airstrikes against Daesh and other insurgents which had won control of Iraq’s second most populated city, Mosul in June. Originally limited to providing air support in coordination with its allies to Iraqi troops […]

How many French soldiers are deployed?


At the beginning of 2016 there are more or less 34,000 French military personnel deployed on operations or missions. Of these 13,000 are deployed within France: 10,000 on the Sentinelle anti-terrorist mission, 1,500 ensuring a permanent maritime safety posture and 1,000 a permanent air safety posture. However, as Colonel Gilles Jaron, spokesman for the French […]

French and Indian regiments in joint Shakti 2016 exercise


A detachment of 56 personnel from the 35th Infantry Regiment (35e RI) of the French army’s 7th Armoured Brigade is currently in India for the joint Shakti 2016 exercise with the 2nd Battalion Garhwal Rifles, in order to improve their counter-insurrection and counter-terrorism interoperability.     The exercise is an important step for the armies […]

Late Christmas gift for French Special Forces


France’s Special Forces got a late Christmas gift yesterday (7 January) from the DGA procurement agency which, on 30 December, signed an order with Renault Trucks Defense (RTD) for nearly 450 new tactical vehicles. The Special Forces will get 202 heavyweight vehicles, 25 of which will be delivered before the end of this year, and […]

Operation Ωmega


There are visible wounds and then there are those that nobody sees: of those soldiers whose injuries are invisible, “psychic”, 80% want to leave the army and return to civilian life. On 1 October 2015, the French army had more than 500 psychic war-wounded on long term sick leave. Their number made it vital to do something, […]

Will Belgium’s army be sidelined in the fight against terrorism?


Molenbeek, Salah Abdelslam, Level 4 alert, Brussels under siege, etc., these words and images have put Belgium on the front of the international scene over the past few weeks. However, even if Brussels has adopted measures almost identical to those of Paris to handle this unprecedented situation, the popular reaction seems to have differed in […]