Rafale, Caesar, FDI, Scorpene…: What are these French defense equipment items that export so well today?

Order intake for French defense equipment exports reached €11,7 billion in 2021, the third best year ever recorded by this industry, while 2022 promises to be the year of all records. more than €20 billion, in particular due to the order of 80 Rafale aircraft by the United Arab Emirates for more than €14 billion. In fact, since 1950, France has been moving between 3rd and 4th place in the world ranking of arms exporters, behind the United States, the Soviet Union/Russia, and on a par with Great Britain in this area. . French exports today represent more than 80.000 direct and indirect jobs, for an average invoicing of €8,5 billion per year, representing 40% of the activity of this industrial sector.

In recent years, some equipment has achieved great success on the international scene. Thus, the Rafale, which the Minister of Defense Hervé Morin in 2010 described as too complex, too expensive and unsaleable, is now establishing itself as a historic success for Aircraft Manufacturer Dassault Aviation and the entire Rafale team, the aircraft having been ordered by 7 international customers: Egypt for 54 aircraft, Qatar for 36 aircraft, India for 36 aircraft, Greece for 24 fighters including 12 second-hand, Croatia for 12 used aircraft, the United Arab Emirates for 80 hunters and lately, Indonesia which formalized a first order of 6 devices for a global order of 42 fighters. Other countries are among the ranks of potential customers, such as Serbia et iraqas India, Greece and Egypt are planning to order new aircraft. In the end, the Rafale has already exceeded the expectations of the French manufacturers involved in its manufacture with Dassault Aviation, such as Safran for the M88 turbojet engines, Thales for the on-board electronic systems including the AESA RBE-2 radar, and MBDA for air-to-air and air-to-surface/surface ammunition and missiles.

The 8x8 heavy version of Nexter's CAESAR has been ordered by the Czech Republic and Denmark

If the Rafale alone represents more than half of French arms exports since 2015 in value, it is not an isolated success. Thus, Nexter's CAESAR truck-mounted cannon has carved out an important market share in a very competitive sector in just a few years. It was thus ordered in 6x6 version by Saudi Arabia in more than 130 copies, Indonesia in 55 copies, Morocco in 36 copies and Thailand in 6 copies, while Ukraine received 18 copies of this type taken from the French inventory to strengthen its capabilities against Russia. Denmark and the Czech Republic have opted for the heavier and better armored 8x8 version, with 15 and 52 units respectively. Finally, the Belgium and Lithuania recently ordered the new Mk2 version also ordered by Paris to complete its inventory, respectively at 28 and 18 copies. As for the Rafale, the CAESAR could garner new orders, in particular for Colombia, spain and Iraq. There is also talk of a new delivery of systems to Ukraine, without it being known, for the moment, whether it is an order or a donation, nor of which version and according to what time frame this transaction should take place.

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