Can France develop its defense programs without Germany?

In recent months, not a week has gone by without new information coming in to question Germany's will to persevere in the ambitious cooperation in terms of defense programs launched 4 years ago by President Macron and Chancellor Merkel, on the altar of tensions between the United States and Europeans, in particular Germany, consequences of President Trump's intransigence on Defense Effort Sharing issues. If these last two years, Berlin's demands could still appear to be linked to a different conception of the defense effort, the thunderous exit of the German Defense Minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, thrusting French hopes for European strategic autonomy the very day of the US elections, and the sequence increasingly excessive demands on the part of Berlin since concerning the industrial sharing of programs or intellectual property, leave little doubt as to Berlin's now obvious desire to end these programs.

However, whether it is the Eurodrone, the SCAF combat aircraft, the MGCS tanks, the CIFS artillery system, the MAWS maritime patrol aircraft and even the Tiger 3, the ultimate version of the he European combat helicopter, all these programs today constitute the heart of the technological and operational anticipation of the French armies and the national defense industry for decades to come. In fact, if Berlin (and Madrid concerning SCAF), were to put an end to this collaboration, there is little doubt that France will then have to develop itself, if not the same programs and equipment, at least their operational substitutes. . Under these conditions, can we take advantage of the resetting of these strategic and dimensioning programs to correct some of their shortcomings or poorly calibrated ambitions, and thus design and produce equipment more suited to the operational needs of the French armies and capable of better meet the expectations of international demand, so as to increase fiscal sustainability?

A schedule based on operational needs

One of the main criticisms that can be made of the Franco-German cooperation programs is based on the timetable chosen by Paris and Berlin. Indeed, SCAF like MGCS, CIFS and MAWS, all aim for entry into service between 2035 and 2040. In addition, the manufacturers in charge of these programs have already indicated that given the technological ambitions displayed, but also the cumbersome bi or tri-national management of these programs, these deadlines will be very difficult to meet. At the same time, however, many factors now indicate that the peak in international tensions, especially between the United States and China, will intervene well in advance of this date. However, if a conflict were to break out, directly or indirectly, between the two super powers in the Pacific and the Indian Ocean, it is most likely that the security situation in Europe, but also in the Middle East, in the Caucasus and Africa, would also deteriorate, most likely dragging France, and its European allies, with it.

The MGCS program was to replace the Leclerc battle tanks in the French armies

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