15th February 2016

Special/conventional forces

It is perfectly feasible that in future France’s special forces will work hand-in-hand with conventional forces. That, at least, is what General Jean-Pierre Bosser, chief of staff of the French Army, announced at a symposium held last week at the Ecole Militaire (War College) in Paris. “I’m pushing for a combination special forces/conventional forces in […]

Merging requirements for the HIL

The first of the 80 joint light helicopters (known as HIL, the French acronym for hélicoptère inter-armées léger) will probably not be delivered before 2028 which “is not very comfortable for the renewal” of the army’s fleet of helicopters, regrets Major General Olivier Gourlez de la Motte, commander of the ALAT French Army helicopter command. […]

Record year for French defence exports

France signed an estimated €16bn worth of export contracts in 2015 of which five were each worth over €500m. The definitive figure will be released at the end of May but Laurent Collet-Billon, the director of France’s DGA procurement agency, was confident that the €8.20bn registered in 2014 would be almost doubled in 2015. The […]

Protecting the Old Continent

The 2017 budget requested by the US Department of Defense shows that there has been a shift in emphasis and that US military engagement on the Old Continent has become a major priority as a logical consequence of the security situation in Eastern Europe. Faced with the growing threat of Russia, the Pentagon wants to […]

No more words, action!

by Nathan Gain and Christina Mackenzie   “There is war out there. Nobody can deny it and we cannot continue writing papers. So we have to act.” Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, Dutch Minister of Defence was crystal clear during the press conference which followed the 5 February meeting of the 28 defence ministers of the European Union […]

No transport, no mission

Last week the flavours of the week in the French Army were logistics and maintenance: two actors that are “multifunctional, multi-mission, multi-environment and polyvalent.” More than 7,300 personnel work in the transport sector to convey, interface, integrate and train during operational missions which are “fast, far and difficult,” according to Colonel Guillaume Santoni, director of […]

Caesar in Norway

After Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Thailand, will Norway be the next to be seduced by self-propelled artillery bearing the “Nexter Systems” stamp? As confirmed by the French company this morning, the Scandinavian nation has just down-selected the Caesar mobile artillery system. Three other systems were also down-selected to replace the 18 self-propelled M109A3GNs currently in service […]

Air-droppable army tractor

The 17th Parachute Engineer Regiment (17e Régiment de Génie Parachutiste, 17e RGP,), based in Montauban, just north of Toulouse in south-western France, recently took delivery of a somewhat peculiar piece of equipment. The TNA, the French acronym for an air-droppable tractor-leveller, is an extremely compact tracked vehicle that can be air-dropped with its drivers. Officially […]

Are we at war? part 2

Despite the gloomy picture painted by Field Marshal Pierre de Villiers yesterday he nevertheless gave some keys as to how this war against terrorism might be won: the means, the will and commitment, or in other words:”Power – Will – Act”. The chief of staff explained that “nothing is possible without the means to drive […]

Are we at war?

Answering the question “are we at war ?” posed during the traditional New Year meeting with members of the French Association of Defence Journalists (AJD) a few days ago, Field Marshal Pierre de Villiers, chief of staff of the French armed forces, answered: “Formally, no, because we are asking the French people to return to café […]