France

#1
Is it time to examine more closely how the French defense establishment is run?

France and the UK have a similar world role, and almost identical defense budgets. How then are the French able to maintain almost 200,000 extra active service troops and a similar number again of reserve troops?

It would be understandable if their troops had little training, were equipped with AKs and are in general shit; however, this is not the case. They manage to retain a far broader spectrum of capabilities than we manage, with the addition of developing almost all of their weapon systems unilaterally (including nuclear). Furthermore it is usual for them to maintain approximately 30,000+ personnel on overseas operations.


Where are we going wrong...?
 

Alsacien

MIA
Moderator
#2
Consider also the Gendarmerie is paid out of the same budget.

Perhaps if the UK defense budget went on military things, rather than defense industry job/contract maintenance schemes it would work better....
 
#3
Just guessing here, but it is not that long ago (2001?) that they ended conscription. I'd imagine they still have a vast amount of materiel left over from those days that is now surplus to requirements. Sure, their operating expenses will still be high, but their capital expenditure must be less per capita than the UK.
 
#4
Alsacien, you are probably right. Maybe it's because we get our priorities in the right order.
 
#5
Somewhat tongue in cheek, might a contributory factor be that the french field a two part army: a national army for the defence of la belle France and the foreign-manned but French led Legion Etranger for overseas jollies? One might be tempted to add that the french have been (Libya excepted in recent years) quite judicious in which punch ups they elect to participate in.
 
#6
Somewhat tongue in cheek, might a contributory factor be that the french field a two part army: a national army for the defence of la belle France and the foreign-manned but French led Legion Etranger for overseas jollies? One might be tempted to add that the french have been (Libya excepted in recent years) quite judicious in which punch ups they elect to participate in.
About 25/30% of the FFL is made up of Frenchmen.
 
#7
There was a major review of French defence published in 2008 (see link below). The govt then took note of the SDSR and I believe are now considering a revision.

http://www.ambafrance-ca.org/IMG/pdf/Livre_blanc_Press_kit_english_version.pdf

Large chunks of infrastructure are being sold off and a new Joint staff HQ is being built on the edge of Paris (again link below but in FR) as a way of reducing costs (and staff).

Balard 2015

There is also a much closer cooperation with the UK since that was given the go ahead last November, sharing assets/training/procurement thus reducing costs.
 
#8
Is it time to examine more closely how the French defense establishment is run?
Not really.

France and the UK have a similar world role, and almost identical defense budgets. How then are the French able to maintain almost 200,000 extra active service troops and a similar number again of reserve troops?
Because most French troops are about as well trained and combat capable as a boy scout troop?
 

Alsacien

MIA
Moderator
#9
Alsacien, you are probably right. Maybe it's because we get our priorities in the right order.
Well the French solution is a bit more open - they shovel government cash into protectionist military industries directly, they are probably even more unviable commercially than the UK ones, at least judging by the relative sales abroad.
 
#10
On HERRICK I shared a room with a Frenchman - his view was that the French army has major pay problems (a French WO earns what a senior Cpl earns in the UK), has no allowances, so anyone based in Paris with their family is living in penury, and there are major retention issues. Poor pay and conditions mean that there is a dearth of good people in the system, and few people want to join.
He was also scathing about French kit and equipment, and said that the UK loadout for HERRICK was stunning - he showed me the kit the French got and its abotu 20 years behind our own. They have no UOR process to speak of and their kit isn't responsive to the environment.
They look superficially impressive but have major structural, HR and equipment issues, and are laden with a small number of hugely expensive high end capabilities like the nuclear deterent that cost more than our own and provide no extra capability.
 
#11
They look superficially impressive but have major structural, HR and equipment issues, and are laden with a small number of hugely expensive high end capabilities like the nuclear deterent that cost more than our own and provide no extra capability.
What he said.

I seem to recall a report some years ago into the actual capability of the homeland French Air Force. It had 12 fighters that were 100%, the rest were down for a variety of reasons.

Same with their Navy, looks impressive, but most of the ships are at best 2nd class units and cannot do long term deployments.


C'est magnifique, mais, c'est ne pas un militaire deployable.
 

Alsacien

MIA
Moderator
#12
What he said.

I seem to recall a report some years ago into the actual capability of the homeland French Air Force. It had 12 fighters that were 100%, the rest were down for a variety of reasons.

Same with their Navy, looks impressive, but most of the ships are at best 2nd class units and cannot do long term deployments.


C'est magnifique, mais, c'est ne pas un militaire deployable.
So substantially more than we have then.... ;-)
 
#13
What I read here is the habitual series of clichés on the FRA armed forces....

Truth:

-pay is crap when not deployed when compared to the BA but personal experience has shown me that most armies pays are crap when compared to the BA so not really a surprise there.

-retention: good in good units, less so in others. The more the units deploys, the better retention is because pay is then raised (roughly twice the normal pay) ; at the moment, combat and CSS units deploy a lot so both recruiting and retention are not real issues even though I am sure the recruiters would like to have more choice so as to be able to have a higher selection rate for new recruits.

-FFL does all the fighting; this one is getting really old; out of 72 FRA servicemen killed in Afghanistan, only 8 belonged to the FFL and two of those were non-combat deaths.

-quality and availability of the Air Force and Navy; the current show over Libya says more than anything I could write, as well as the number of combat missions. FRA AF and Navy have and still are conducting far more missions than the RAF and RN.

-Nuclear deterrence. French developed, owned and operated. Enough said.

-UOR: of course there are UORs in the FRA armed forces; to name just a few recent ones: HK 417s, 7,62 mm MINIMI, HK GMGs, Nexter Aravis MRAPs, etc, etc. What is true is that currently, only deployiong soldiers get the good kit; the others have to make do with very very bad personal equipment.
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#14
they havent got their own BAE yet but thales is learning.
 
#15
So basically, the Frog armed forced are pretty crap, crap pay, crap conditions and crap equipment until they are deployed and them they get some half decent kit, but other than that, they're crap.

And Libya? Lets see how the French cope with high intensity operations rather than bombing a dead man walking… we know what we can do - The French? Claims not matched by examples mon aimes.
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#16
I seem to remember their mod is much smaller and the mill isnt as top heavy, they are trying to cut costs though and slash the budget as well but its been ongoing for years.

they buy vehicles and stick to them which gave them a capability we are only just trying to get, make their own planes to their own requirements and lower costs. and havent had to rebuild their primary troop weapon system which as soon as it was dont was a failure, the famas had niggles but they fixed em.

in short they dont have the MOD or CGS

and while they cant build carriers for shit they do at least try.
 
#18
If you want your RN pilots trained, don't say nasty stuff about the CdG...

;-)
USN has a proper training programme in place already for our pilots.

10 out of 10 FAA pilots who expressed a presence said 'Train with the Frogs? No f**king way mate, I want a USN billet!'
 
#19
Ah, those embarrassing facts.....

Navy pilots to train on French carrier
13 June 2011

Thirty Royal Navy pilots are to be taught French to allow them to train on board French carrier Charles de Gaulle, according to reports.

The first five British pilots will shortly spend 16 weeks learning French at France's Collège Interarmées de Défense in Paris before joining the Charles de Gaulle for three years, where they may fly French Rafale jets, according to reports.

They will be expected to use French in flight and in the officers' quarters.


Navy pilots to train on French carrier - Defence Management
 
#20
ah, those embarrassing facts.....

Navy pilots to train on french carrier
13 june 2011

thirty royal navy pilots are to be taught french to allow them to train on board french carrier charles de gaulle, according to reports.

The first five british pilots will shortly spend 16 weeks learning french at france's collège interarmées de défense in paris before joining the charles de gaulle for three years, where they may fly french rafale jets, according to reports.

They will be expected to use french in flight and in the officers' quarters.


navy pilots to train on french carrier - defence management
franglais?

Je voudrais deux squadrons de mer Harrier pour les carrier dans la med tout suite sil vous plait pal.
 

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