Akeron, Caesar, Rafale…: orders for the French armies multiply in 2024

Since the start of 2024, the Ministry of the Armed Forces has increased orders for the French armies for major equipment at a pace that has not been relevant since the end of the 80s.

In a few weeks, in fact, the three armies were served, new ones Rafale for the Air and Space Force, there are Caesar cannons, Serval armored vehicles, NH90 helicopters or missiles for the Army, or even a large strategic underwater drone program for the Navy national.

This article summarizes the announcements made in this area at the start of the year, the consequences of the application of the new Military Programming Law 2024-2030, and the increases in credits it provides.

42 Rafale F4 for the Air and Space Force

The first announcement came as soon as the confectioners' truce ended. On January 12, the Ministry of the Armed Forces announced the order for 42 new aircraft Rafale, beginning the highly anticipated Tranche 5, for an amount of €5 billion.

In reality, the order had been notified to Dassault Aviation and the team Rafale at the end of December, in accordance with the plan which provided for it to be notified in 2023.

Rafale F4
Lesson 42 Rafale F4 ordered at the start of the year, will be able to evolve towards the F5 standard.

The new fighters will be the first to be delivered directly to the F4 standard, with the ability to evolve, in the future, towards the new and very promising F5 standard, which will be developed during this decade, as part of the LPM 2024-2030.

The 42 new fighters, which will be delivered from 2027, will replace the 12 Rafale F3Rs sold second-hand to Croatia, as well as the Mirage 2000-5s from the AAE, which will be withdrawn from service at the same time.

New large underwater drone demonstrator for the French Navy

At the end of January, it was the turn of the French Navy to be in the spotlight, with the notification to Naval group of a major contract to design and manufacture a new large underwater drone demonstrator, based on the skills acquired with the DDO demonstrator presented in 2021.

Beyond the drone itself, the program will also focus on the development and reliability of numerous technologies which will make it operationally useful, such as long-endurance propulsion, the sensors and communication systems which will equip the drone, and above all artificial intelligence which will be in charge of its piloting, mission management, and implementation of on-board systems.

The DDO underwater drone will serve as a test platform for the technologies that will be developed as part of the program entrusted to Naval Group.

For the moment, the timetable, like the budget of the program, are still obscure. However, as mentioned in our article devoted to this subject, the operational, technological and commercial challenges for this new capacity are equal to the difficulties in acquiring it, while international competition promises to be fierce on this subject, even if, today, France has a real lead in this area.

109 Caesar Mk2, 420 VBMR-light Serval and 9 NH90 Caïman for the Army

This February 1, 2024, will have been a prosperous day for the French armies, and in particular for the Army, which had not been the subject of so much attention for a long time.

Already, on January 10, the order for eight new NH90 Caïman TTH maneuvering helicopters, a highly anticipated order as part of the modernization of this component of the ALAT. Not only are the Caymans much more modern than the Puma they will replace, but they offer much greater performance in all areas.

French armies NH90 Cougar Tiger
The NH90 TTH offers much superior performance to the helicopters it will replace within the ALAT.

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