The diminishing state of the French Navy seems all-too familiar

The French Navy’s politically-driven budget woes seem to be uncannily similar to those faced by the Royal Navy. The early decommissioning of the surface combatants and a reduced number of replacement vessels is the most obvious example. If we look at the future strength of the French Navy (Marine Nationale) as proposed in the 2013 Defence White Paper (livre blanc sur la défense et la sécurité nationale) the leaner forces will be expected to do as much, if not more.

Les forces navales reposeront sur la FOST avec ses 4 SNLE, des capacités de combat de premier plan pour les opérations de haute intensité et de gestion des crises majeures, avec un porte-avions, 6 SNA, 3 Bâtiments de projection et de commandement et 15 frégates de premier rang, comprenant les frégates de défense aérienne, les frégates multi-missions et des unités de combat moins puissantes, notamment les frégates de type Lafayette adaptées avec sonar. Elles seront complétées par des unités plus légères aptes au contrôle des espaces maritimes : 15 patrouilleurs, 6 frégates de surveillance, des bâtiments d’assistance. Elles comprendront également des avions de patrouille maritime ainsi qu’une capacité de guerre des mines apte à la protection de nos approches et à la projection en opérations extérieures.

Let’s translate that into English.

The naval forces will rely on the FOST (strategic oceanic force), with its four nuclear-powered, ballistic missile-carrying submarines (SSBN), high-level combat capabilities for high-intensity operations and major crisis management missions, with an aircraft carrier, six nuclear-powered attack submarines, three combined support and command vessels (BPC) and 15 frontline frigates, including air defence frigates, multi-mission frigates and less powerful combat units, notably Lafayette-type frigates with sonar capabilities. They will be supplemented by lighter units capable of controlling maritime spaces: 15 patrol boats, six surveillance frigates and support vessels. They will also include naval patrol aircraft and a mine-laying capability to protect our approaches and for deployment in external operations.

That politicians experience no cognitive dissonance is remarkable.

 

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