14 French Rafale fighters disassembled for parts
According to French publications, on October 6, 2021, at a hearing in the Senate of the French National Assembly, the Minister of the French Armed Forces, Florence Parley, voiced what the French military has long been talking about on the sidelines:
“14 Rafale aircraft of the French aerospace forces are tightly nailed to the ground because they are simply disassembled for parts. " Fighter Dassault Rafale C Aerospace Forces France (c) Aerospace Forces France
As of July 1, 2020, the French Aerospace Forces had 102 Dassault Rafale fighters, but having aircraft does not mean flying them, 14 of them were completely unusable and were partially disassembled to maintain the remaining aircraft of this type in flight condition. Professionals blame the Defense Planning Act (LPM) for 2009-2014 for this situation, when, due to the failures of Dassault Aircraff in exporting Rafale aircraft, the military bought Rafale aircraft from it without a set of spare parts, so over time some of them themselves has become a source of missing parts.
If LPM 2019-2025 is implemented in full, then by 2025 the combat strength of the French Aerospace Forces will reach 129 Rafale aircraft, while the order of the French armed forces from Dassault Aviation will be financed, including through the sale of 12 used Greece in 2021-2022. Rafale from the presence of videoconferencing. As soon as the Greek contract was signed in January 2021, Armed Forces Minister Florence Parley soon notified Dassault Aviation of the order for the Aerospace Forces to replace the 12 Rafale sold in F3R standard. The order, she explained to the newspaper Les Echos, would be “funded under the Defense Planning Law, the loans of which will be supplemented by proceeds from the sale of used aircraft in Greece,” which was then estimated at 400 million euros.
However, now Parley says that “first and foremost, the contract with Greece will help restore aircraft that are not flying. It's not just a matter of an MCO (maintenance to maintain flight) contract, it's also a fact of being able to reintroduce aircraft, which in a sense served as a reservoir of spare parts. ” Thus, the proceeds from the sale of aircraft in Greece will not be used to finance the order for 12 new Rafale, which will be delivered to the French Aerospace Forces in 2025.
At the same time, Minister Parley and military specialists are unanimous in their opinion - this practice of using working equipment as a source of spare parts to maintain the rest in working order is not new, and is often used, especially in countries with severe restrictions on the military budget.
The minister is full of optimism, "The sale of used Rafale aircraft to Greece will not only make it possible to earn 400 million euros, but also to supply the French armed forces, instead of old, more modern aircraft capable of performing the most complex combat missions." The new aircraft, Parley said, will be “a plus for the Aerospace Forces, since on average our Rafale fleet will be more modern than what we would have had without these orders.” The military partly agreed with their minister: forces not only and not so much to make beautiful flights on Bastille Day, but to maintain their military potential, in other words, to be able to wage war. "
In addition to modern aviation technology, the French aerospace forces need well-trained technicians and pilots. They need to provide a sufficient number of flight hours, purchase modern equipment (sensors, radar, overhead containers, etc.), not forgetting about a sufficient amount of weapons and ammunition. All this is necessary for them to fulfill their direct task: to conduct hostilities for a certain time, but some of the needs are sacrificed in order to fit into the framework of the military budget.
As for the contract with Croatia for the supply of 12 Rafale fighters from the French Aerospace Forces, everything is less certain here, and negotiations are still ongoing. but if it is implemented, the French Aerospace Forces will receive in return from the industry the latest Rafale aircraft of the F4 standard. However, only after signing the contract, Dassault Aviation will place a new order for new aircraft.
"Firstly, we will replenish this fleet as we planned to do" under the Greek contract, and secondly, we are exploring scenarios for enhancing the technical capabilities of [Rafale]. I mean, in particular, the fact that we do not have enough TALIOS suspended containers and radar [with AFAR]. Here we also intend to use the proceeds from the sale, ”Parley said.
With a military budget of two percent of GDP, the French armed forces will receive only "equipment", but they need real "operational capabilities" for which there are not enough funds ...