As Emmanuel Macron promised during his speech at Mont-de-Marsan on January 20, the armies will have 413 billion euros for the next five years (2024-2030). This unprecedented effort should bring France's military budget to 69 billion euros per year in 2030, against 32 billion spent in 2017.
Sources from the Ministry of the Armed Forces insist that this is a "floor" sum, where the military programming law (LPM) traditionally provided a ceiling. "It's substantial but nothing too much," we confide, however. Amputated by about 30 billion by inflation, this LPM will see the start of many massive programs, in particular related to nuclear deterrence with the launch of the construction site of future nuclear ballistic missile submarines (SNLE). The 2024-2030 LPM will also be that of the construction of the replacement for the Charles-de-Gaulle aircraft carrier, the Pang, and that of the Rafale, the European Scaf (air combat system of the future).
The budget increases have been planned in stages of 3 billion euros each year until 2027, then an additional 4.3 billion in 2028. An extension of one and a half billion euros has been negotiated in addition for the year 2024 by Minister Sébastien Lecornu, to deal with the renewal of ammunition stocks as part of the establishment of a "war economy". At the ministry, it is assured that the credits allocated to the armies in the future LPM are "sanctuarized and will not be impacted by a potential evolution of French support for Ukraine".
At the Hotel de Brienne, we identify four main axes in this LPM: nuclear deterrence, the fact of being able to deal with a major conflict such as that in Ukraine, new spaces of conflict such as the seabed , space or cyber, and the strengthening of France's various strategic partnerships. Above all, this increase in power will make it possible to finish "repairing" the armies after years of budgetary scarcity, and to strengthen certain capacities according to these four challenges.
Fifty-nine billion euros will for example be devoted to maintenance in operational condition (MCO), an increase of half compared to the current LPM, which already marked a particular effort in this area. This should make it possible to ensure better availability of the various vehicle fleets, which has so far often been lacking. Other expenditure items will be reinforced: 13 billion euros will be devoted to overseas territories, 10 to the development of breakthrough technologies such as hypervelocity missiles, 6 billion euros for space, 5 to counter-interference, the same for ground-to-air defense and as much for the development of drones, an area in which France is lagging behind. Almost 100 billion out of the 400 will be spent on payroll, the ministry's biggest expense, with the desire to make a special effort to retain the troops and improve their working conditions.
But to fit into the framework, the programs in progress could suffer delays... "There will be no renunciation, but revisions of timing", we whisper to the ministry. Understand: The delivery schedule will be extended for several hardware programs. For example, in the Air and Space Force, the transition to "all Rafale" (i.e. the withdrawal of the last Mirage 2000s still in service) is planned for 2035. In 2030, the airmen will therefore only have 137 Rafale, against 185 initially planned.
For A400M transport aircraft, the ministry plans to operate 35 in 2030, but the original target of 50 aircraft remains in abeyance and will have to be discussed again in the next LPM. Similarly, deliveries of armored vehicles from the Scorpion program (Serval, Griffon and Jaguar) will be more spread out and some postponed after 2030, amputating the Army of several hundred of them at the end of the duration of the LPM, compared to what was previously expected.