France will devote two billion euros to ordering ammunition in 2023 for its armed forces, a third more than last year, said Wednesday the Minister for the Armed Forces Sébastien Lecornu, referring to “adaptations” in the face of the war in Ukraine. “We are offering you an exceptional sum of two billion euros for ammunition alone for our armed forces, that is to say 500 million euros more than the year 2022, 60% more credits compared to to 2019”, affirmed the Minister while presenting the 2023 draft budget to the deputies of the Defense Committee.
An army budget of nearly 44 billion euros
As announced on several occasions and as must be the case again in 2024 and 2025, the armed forces budget will increase by three billion euros in 2023 to reach 43.9 billion euros (excluding pensions), in accordance with the Law of military programming (LPM 2019-2025). In this envelope, “there are things that were already planned, there are also things that we have obviously chosen to accelerate in view of what we know on the eastern flank”, he remarked.
The orders will relate in particular to 200 anti-tank missiles MMP (medium-range missiles), 100 anti-aircraft missiles SAMP-T (Surface-Air Medium Range of new generation). The amount of ammunition deliveries will amount to one billion euros, including in particular nearly a hundred Mica air-to-air missiles equipping the Rafale and Mirage 2000, nearly 700 air-to-ground bombs of 250, 500 and 1,000 kg, 10,000 155 mm shells for the Caesar guns and more than 50 million small caliber ammunition, the ministry detailed.
An “indispensable” effort with the war in Ukraine
In a report published in February shortly before the Russian invasion, deputies considered “essential to replenish stocks of ammunition and parts to allow high-intensity training” and estimated the need for funding at 6 billion euros. The “maintenance in operational condition” (MCO), that is to say the maintenance of equipment, essential to ensure the availability of equipment, will benefit from an “exceptional envelope of 5 billion euros”, according to Sébastien Lecornu. The planes and helicopters of the three armies will benefit from 57% of this envelope.
The modernization of nuclear deterrence will mobilize 5.6 billion euros in payment appropriations in 2023. Asked by several deputies about the impact of inflation on the budget increase planned for 2023, Sébastien Lecornu admitted that ” inflation has always invited itself into the LPM (but) this inflation margin is new”.
However, he added, “there are mechanisms to deal with inflation.” “We estimate the effects of inflation at one billion euros on the whole budget, we are going towards a billion euros in deferral of charges”, he underlined, in reference to the deferral of the payment of invoices to the following year. “Overall we are dampening things,” concluded the minister.