Franco-German defense industrial cooperation crystallizes opinions in France

In recent weeks, Franco-German defense industrial cooperation programs, such as the SCAF new generation combat aircraft program and the MGCS combat tank program, have encountered many difficulties. In front of a certain intransigence and excessive demands on the part of Germany, the French Defense Industry, but also a significant part of the national public opinion, arched in a posture of hostility, with the aim of protecting the Defense industry as well as sometimes to oppose the very principle of European cooperation. This debate, which was held mainly on social networks and in a select committee, has now crossed a new threshold, by exposing itself directly in the national press, through sharp forums from both camps.

The most vocal opponents of these cooperation programs are two groups, the MARS group and the Vauban group, presented as groups of experts and personalities from La Défense and the industrial and civil world, working together to fuel the debate on the future of La Défense nationale. These groups defend substantially similar positions, based on the need to maintain a strong and autonomous national defense industry, and on the fact that cooperation with Germany in the field of defense is counterproductive, both political differences, industrial and even operational between the two countries diverge.

In its current form, the SCAF program must give rise to a combat aircraft which must combine French (versatility, on-board, nuclear) and German (air superiority, heavy fighter) needs.

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