French defense exports fell by over a half in 2017


In a year in which France faced elections and many of its lucrative markets suffered from economic slowdowns the level of global orders for French armaments dipped significantly in 2017. The total of orders booked in 2017 fell to €6.9 billion from €13.9 billion the year before, representing a decline of just over 50 percent.

This marks two consecutive years of decline in French global arms sales since the high-water mark of 2015 when orders totaled €16.9 billion, according to Forecast International.

A key for France moving forward are major arms contracts that will go into effect in 2018, including an option pick-up by Qatar that calls for acquisition of an additional 12 Rafale combat aircraft.

As in the case of the U.S., U.K., Russia and China, France wields foreign arms sales as a form of diplomatic and security policy aimed at achieving strategic ends.

Besides supporting its internal defense industry through provision of external work orders, its arms sales serve the purpose of strengthening security partnerships and marketing French military hardware to additional interested buyers, Forecast International said.