Exposed: French Military’s Critical Equipment Shortage!

The French Senate recently voiced concerns over the availability of certain key equipment. A detailed analysis of this issue reveals some interesting facts, earning further consideration.

A Closer Look at Army Equipment Availability

The primary concern raised by the Senate relates specifically to the insufficient availability of the Leclerc tanks. The availability percentage of these tanks, which stood at 54% in 2019, is anticipated to be affected in 2024 because of modernization efforts. Also, the availability of 's light aviation helicopters, especially the Tiger and the NH-90 “Caïman” TTH, hasn't been significantly improved.

Performance Indicators and Their Confidentiality

The performance indicators of the military are classified, making it difficult for members of parliament to monitor government actions effectively. This lack of access to information creates a challenging work context for those responsible for the oversight of army activities.

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Technical Availability vs Operational Technical Availability

Army equipment availability is measured in two ways: technical availability (DT) and operational technical availability (DTO). DTO values are generally higher than DT values. For instance, in 2019, the DT for Véhicules de l'avant blindé (VAB) was 55%, while the DTO for Véhicules blindés de combat d'infanterie (VBCI) was 58% in 2020, a drop from 74% two years prior. As for the Tiger and NH-90 TTH helicopters, their DT in 2018 was around 30%.

Availability Improvement and Future Concerns

Notwithstanding the faced, senators suggest that the availability of equipment in the French army should gradually improve. In particular, the availability of reconnaissance and attack helicopters is on an upward trajectory due to various projects involving the Tiger helicopters, despite the maintenance challenges faced by the Caïman helicopters.

New deliveries and of old equipment are likely to have a marginally positive effect on the availability of armored vehicles. However, the proposed transfer of equipment to could potentially lead to a dip in availability due to the extension of the lifespan of older equipment.

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Prospects for the Future

The activity of the French army isn't projected to increase in 2024. Metrics like training days for ground fighters, the number of hours per chariot and armored crew, and the number of shots per Caesar crew are expected to stay stable. On another hand, the flight hours per ALAT helicopter are forecasted to increase slightly before stabilizing in 2024, following a decrease in 2023.

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