October 2, 2015 By Pierre Tran – Defense News
PARIS — France will boost the 2016 defense budget by €600 million (US $671 million) to €32 billion, of which equipment spending will receive an extra €300 million, as set out in the parliamentary bill published Sept. 30.
Of the total budget, funds for equipment will rise to €17 billion from €16.7 billion. Among the kit to be delivered next year are nine Rafale fighters, three A400M transport aircraft, five Tiger combat and six NH90 transport helicopters, one multimission frigate, 25 heavy vehicles for special forces, and a first batch of cruise missiles for the frigate and Barracuda attack submarine.
Contracts will be signed for upgrade of the Mirage 2000D fighter-bomber, a fourth multimission frigate and an Anglo-French naval anti-mine drone. Some €3.8 billion is earmarked for research and development, with €710 million for feasibility studies.
In 2016, there will be continued French cooperation with Germany and Italy on a medium-altitude, long-endurance drone, a second phase in the Anglo-French unmanned combat air system–demonstrator program, and a Franco-German order for a third spy satellite, said Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. That showed French pursuit of European cooperation in a “pragmatic and concrete way,” he said.
The deal to set up a holding company jointly held by French state-owned Nexter and German family-controlled Krauss-Maffei Wegmann is expected to be formally completed this month or November, a French executive said. That is earlier than expected as the German regulatory authorities had given a surprisingly speedy clearance on the deal.
The 2016 budget revises upward the funds set out in the 2014-2019 multiyear budget law.