According to the French CVB, on October 6, 2021, at a hearing in the Senate of the French National Assembly, the Minister of the Armed Forces of France, Florence Parley, voiced what the French military have been talking about on the sidelines for a long time:
“The 14 Rafale aircraft of the French Aerospace Forces are nailed to the ground because they were simply disassembled for parts.”
As of July 1, 2020, the French Aerospace Forces had 102 Dassault Rafale fighters, but having aircraft does not mean flying them, 14 of them were completely unusable and were partially disassembled to maintain the remaining aircraft of this type in flight condition.
Professionals blame the Defense Planning Act (LPM) for 2009-2014 for this situation, when, due to the failures of Dassault Aircraff in exporting Rafale aircraft, the military bought Rafale aircraft from it without a set of spare parts, so over time some of them themselves has become a source of missing parts.
If LPM 2019-2025 is implemented in full, then by 2025 the combat strength of the French Aerospace Forces will reach 129 Rafale aircraft, while the order of the French armed forces from Dassault Aviation will be financed, including through the sale of 12 used Greece in 2021-2022. Rafale from the presence of videoconferencing. As soon as the Greek contract was signed in January 2021, Armed Forces Minister Florence Parley soon notified Dassault Aviation of the order for the Aerospace Forces to replace the 12 Rafale sold in F3R standard. The order, she explained to the newspaper Les Echos, would be “funded under the Defense Planning Law, the loans of which will be supplemented by proceeds from the sale of used aircraft in Greece,” which was then estimated at 400 million euros.
However, now Parley says that “first and foremost, the contract with Greece will help restore aircraft that are not flying. It’s not just a matter of an MCO (maintenance to maintain flight) contract, it’s also a fact of being able to reintroduce aircraft, which in a sense served as a reservoir of spare parts. ” Thus, the proceeds from the sale of aircraft in Greece will not be used to finance the order for 12 new Rafale, which will be delivered to the French Aerospace Forces in 2025.
At the same time, Minister Parley and military specialists are unanimous in their opinion – this practice of using working equipment as a source of spare parts to maintain the rest in working order is not new, and is often used, especially in countries with severe restrictions on the military budget.
The minister is full of optimism, “the sale of used Rafale aircraft to Greece will not only earn 400 million euros, but also supply the French armed forces, instead of old, more modern aircraft capable of performing the most complex combat missions.” The new aircraft, Parley said, will be “a plus for the Aerospace Forces, since on average our Rafale fleet will be more modern than what we would have had without these orders.” The military partly agreed with their minister: forces not only and not so much to make beautiful flights on Bastille Day, but to maintain their military potential, in other words, to be able to wage war. “
In addition to modern aviation technology, the French aerospace forces need well-trained technicians and pilots. They need to provide a sufficient number of flight hours, purchase modern equipment (sensors, radars, overhead containers, etc.), not forgetting about a sufficient amount of weapons and ammunition. All this is necessary for them to fulfill their direct task: to conduct hostilities for a certain time, but some of the needs are sacrificed in order to fit into the framework of the military budget.
As for the contract with Croatia for the supply of 12 Rafale fighters from the French Aerospace Forces, everything is less certain here, and negotiations are still ongoing. but with its implementation, the French Aerospace Forces will in return receive from the industry the latest Rafale aircraft of the F4 standard. However, only after signing the contract, Dassault Aviation will place a new order for new aircraft.
“Firstly, we will replenish this fleet, as we planned to do” under the Greek contract, and, secondly, we are studying scenarios for enhancing technical capabilities [Rafale]… I mean, in particular, the fact that we are missing TALIOS overhead containers and radar [c АФАР]… Here we also intend to use the proceeds from the sale, ”Parley said.
With a military budget of two percent of GDP, the French Armed Forces will receive only “equipment”, but they need real “operational capabilities” for which there are not enough funds …
For a country like France, this is certainly a rather strange situation, which nevertheless fits into the observed picture of French decline. Ironically, when Macron went to the presidential election, he was positioned almost as Napoleon, who would return France to its former greatness, after the corrupt Sarkozy and the vague Hollande. But in practice, under Macron, both his personal shoals and many of the things that were not so noticeable under the previous presidents got out. And all one to one.
And how much there was talk about a separate European army. But in fact, France, like Europe, is not ready for this at the current stage. For both political and military reasons. This requires political will and a much larger defense budget, which will provide funding not only for its own armed forces, but also for pulling up those lagging behind.
PS It should be noted separately that if it were not for the conflict between Turkey and Greece over the islands and shelf in the Mediterranean, there might not have been a contract for the supply of Rafales to Greece. And there was simply nowhere to replace the disassembled aircraft. Thus, “friend Recep” with his territorial claims indirectly (or maybe just agreed? *) Helped France, which by selling planes to Greece, will be able to partially solve the problem of reducing the number of combat-ready fighters.
The history of relations between France and the Ottoman Empire shows that such things in the relations between the French and Turks were quite common. Therefore, the formidable demonstration of the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle near Cyprus, and public insults, may well be an ordinary game of diplomats, the purpose of which is to make money from selling far from the best weapons.