31st March 2016

Operation Sangaris will end this year


The end of operation Sangaris was confirmed yesterday, 30 March, by French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in a speech to French troops in Bangui, Central African Republic (CAR). “It is with the satisfaction of a job well done that I can confirm that Sangaris will be wound down before the end of 2016 ,” he […]

The hazards of market forecasts


Should one believe, and pay a lot of money for, those annual forecasts about potential sales of various types of military equipment? FOB thinks probably not because even if these reports are written in good faith, conflicts and governments’ reactions to them have proven to be totally unpredicatable since the beginning of the 21st Century, […]

The Ossau helicopters


We have become familiar with Barkhane, Serval, Sentinelle. Now, here is Ossau, an operation that has been ongoing since 28 February 2016 undertaken by the Barkhane force in the Mali regions of Gourma and Ansongo-Ménaka to support the Mali Armed Forces (MaAF). According to the French Ministry of Defence “this is the most important joint operation […]

Entente cordiale in the snow


If you were in Dévoluy (Hautes-Alpes) between 3-10 March you may have crossed paths with some 50 or so soldiers in white ski-jackets and khaki trousers, trekking and speaking French with a strong Canadian accent. These were members of the 12e Régiment blindé du Canada (12e RBC), the 12th armoured regiment, who were taking part […]

Financing a European defence fund with debt?


A system to finance France’s defence spending whilst reducing its overall public debt was suggested recently by Thierry Breton, former finance minister and current CEO of Atos, the European leader of information technologies, at a hearing by the French Senate’s Commission on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Armed Forces. To date France has accumulated a public […]

Reflecting on radicalisation


I had an exclusive interview this morning with Christian Harbulot which had been set up a couple of days ago. We were supposed to talk about the study that the School of Economic War which he heads in Paris has just published on “Can France overcome Daesh in the information war?” But then the terrorist attacks […]

Army mobilises in Brussels


Following the terrorist attacks in Brussels the threat level was raised on 22 March to its maximum level (4/4) across Belgium by the OCAM, the agency that coordinates threat analyses. Consequently, a further 225 soldiers will reinforce the Vigilant Guardian operation which has been deployed since January 2015. Level 4, which means that the threat is “serious and imminent”, automatically […]

Winning the battle of values


France will have to win a battle of values and ethics if it wants to eradicate the terrorist threat. In an opinion piece published today, 21 March, by French daily Le Figaro, French Army chief of stafff, General Jean-Pierre Bosser, writes of the importance of waging an immaterial battle in parallel to the war against […]

Poland wants to replace its BWP-1/2s


Poland is considering spending up to €18.6bn to replace its entire fleet of Soviet-era BWPs (Bojowy Wóz Piechoty or Infantry Fighting Vehicle), according to Deputy Defence Minister Bartosz Kownacki, quoted on 15 March by local press agency PAP. New tracked vehicles would replace the thousand or so BWP-1s and 2s still being used by Poland’s […]

MBDA is hiring


by Nathan Gain and Christina Mackenzie   In order to cope with the increase in business induced by its thick order book totalling €15.1bn, up 20% on 2014, European missile manufacturer MBDA will be recruiting a thousand people in 2016, principally in France and Great Britain. Presenting the group’s annual results this morning, 17 March, […]