AFP, published Monday 12 September 2022 at 4:19 pm
French arms exports more than doubled in 2021, reaching € 11.7 billion, driven by sales of Rafale fighter jets, according to an annual report to Parliament presented by Challenges and of which the AFP was able to consult excerpts.
“With 11.7 billion euros of orders received in 2021, France recorded its third highest level in terms of arms exports. It is already certain that 2022 will also be characterized by significant results”, writes the Minister of Forces armed Sébastien Lecornu in the introduction to this report.
The latter will have to be presented by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, the Economy and the Armed Forces during a closed-door hearing at the National Assembly on 27 September. Another hearing will also be held in the Senate.
This result confirms France as the world’s third largest exporter of military equipment, behind the United States and Russia.
It comes after a year of decline in 2020 (4.9 billion euros) due to the constraints related to the health crisis and exceeds the volume of orders received in 2019 (8.3 billion). French arms companies did better only in 2015 (16.9 billion) and 2016 (13.9 billion) thanks to the sales of Rafale.
In 2021, the contracts for Dassault’s fighter planes are still the source of the rebound: France sold six new and twelve used aircraft to Greece, twelve second-hand to Croatia and another 30 new Rafales to Egypt.
In total, the Air Force accounted for almost 70% of the orders received, compared to the usual 30%.
According to the report, other important contracts include the sale of 52 Caesar guns to the Czech Republic and ten H145M helicopters, radar and ground-to-air systems to Serbia. The small contract base (less than € 200 million) reached € 4.1 billion.
According to Challenges, Egypt was Paris’ top customer with 4.5 billion orders taken, ahead of Greece, Croatia, India and Saudi Arabia.
Exports to Europe, to which France is trying to redirect its business, accounted for 38% of orders received in 2021.
The year 2022 should also be favorable for French exports. These include the 80 Rafale mega-contract for the Emirates, as well as the sale of six additional aircraft and three frigates to Greece.