Bell Tolls for French Armoured Vehicle Manufacturers
TurDef wrote a year ago report about the future of the French defence industry based on export figures. It stated that high-tech products are profitable for French aerospace because it finds many customers worldwide, but armoured vehicles must follow a different path.
A recent report from Arquus confirms TurDef’s analyses. Arquus is well known for its products, such as Sherpa, VAB MK 3 and Bastion. The company is also one of the producers of CAESAR howitzer chassis. The company’s business in 2022 generated a turnover of 550 million Euros.
The company’s CEO Emmanuel Levacher’s statement during a March 23 Senate Committee for Foreign Affairs and Defence hearing disclosed the case. Levacher explained that only 100 million Euros out of the overall 550 million was from the export market. He counted that the competition with Turkiye, South Africa and the Republic of Korea (ROK) works against the company. This isn’t very reassuring for the company because the ideal income distribution is expected to be 50 /50. His hopes for the future are based on the war economy due to the war in Ukraine, and the company put the claim on that bid investing in renovation and innovation.
French Defence Procurement Agency DGA executive committee member and the Director of the Defence Innovation Agency Emmanuel Chica supports the “war economy”. He claims that DGA has to transform its infrastructure to comply with the economy, but it does not.
Levancher justifies its failure against Turkish companies by claiming that the manufacturer benefits from the government placing significant orders that reduce production costs. He might be failing to identify the Turkish company’s strong point.
Producing more, faster and cheaper is the main motive behind the French innovation strategy. The company goes for complex logistic support hubs while planning the Scarabee and the modernisation of the CAESAR 2. French army’s future logistics trucks, Armis, and the VBAEs are also under development. They will be, however, available for the army primarily.
The company withdraws from the African continent, according to various reports. The income from African Continent dropped from ten per cent to almost two per cent. As a country that existed in the continent as a colonial power, it is impossible to explain the withdrawal in terms of accessing the market. It is possible to speculate that France loses the market despite its historical ties with decision-makers.
The EDR Magazine states the geographical refocusing is on European nations, such as Estonia, Greece, the Czech Republic or Romania while maintaining close ties with many Gulf and Maghreb countries.
Unsurprisingly, French Armed Forces will continue acquiring such legendary vehicles, but the export / domestic balance will continue at 10/90 shares. The company’s CEO stated last year that they are interested in Romania, Greece, Estonia, the Czech Republic and Sweden. He said that they are open to industrial partnerships. , But Estonia Centre for Defence Investment (ECDI) decision might show that the customer disagrees. The recent development from Estonia underlines that the clouds on the company are not disappeared. On the contrary, the tolls will get closer and closer in European soils.