“The army will be one of the most powerful and lightest”: the development strategy of the French ground forces
French troops left CAR in 2015, Mali in 2022, Burkina Faso in 2023 and are due to leave Niger in 2024. The collapse of Africa's neocolonial empire is causing concern among local observers and military officials as they await the withdrawal of armies from across the continent. In particular, the question arises about the need to change the composition of the country's armed forces, which for many decades were focused on conducting expeditionary campaigns.
As noted in the Meta-defense publication, the French ground army today has 4 medium and light brigades, trained and specially equipped for work in Africa, and only two heavy brigades, more suitable for battles with a symmetrical enemy.
The armored fleet is 80% made up of vehicles weighing 24 tons or less, as priority is given to light forces such as marines, Legion, Alpine Chasseurs or paratroopers. 80% of the chiefs of staff and commanders of the ground forces since 2010 came from the light forces.
- indicated in the publication.
At the same time, according to current plans for the modernization of troops, the trend of transforming the army into lightly armed forces will continue. Thus, by 2030, the armored vehicle fleet will be represented by the following equipment: 200 tanks Leclerc, more than 600 VBCI infantry fighting vehicles, almost 1900 VBMR Griffon armored personnel carriers, 300 EBRC Jaguar armored personnel carriers and more than 2000 Serval light armored vehicles.
- believe in the publication.
According to the author, in addition to the lack of proper protection, French armored vehicles also sometimes suffer from a lack of firepower. This applies in particular to the VBCI infantry fighting vehicle, whose main armament is a 25 mm cannon, which is good against medium armored vehicles, but unsuitable for use against MBTs, even if they are of an old design.
- says the publication.
According to the author, this structure was completely focused on Africa, “France’s favorite theater of military operations and superiority in the last 30 years.” In accordance with this development strategy, the backbone of the army will be represented by 2030 tanks, a little over 200 guns and about 100 long-range systems by 10.
He believes the ground forces need to be rebuilt so they can regain their former role within the French conventional deterrence system. However, there is no indication that the General Staff and the Ministry of Defense of the country understand this.
- a conclusion is made in the publication.
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