Wednesday, April 18, 2018

France - Ready For War?

ComNavOps suggested in the Syria anti-chemical weapons strike post that it demonstrated that the UK and France have some severe limitations with their military reach and readiness.   Some commenters scoffed at that assessment.  Well, here’s some more evidence from a Defense News article. (1)  The French frigate that was designated to launch the three cruise missiles failed to do so and a backup ship had to launch missiles, instead.

“When a French multimission frigate failed to fire its salvo of three naval cruise missiles during last weekend’s joint airstrike on Syria, the military drew on a backup plan.

The frigate’s sister ship, the Languedoc, instead launched its naval cruise missiles at the three Syrian targets. The mission was the first time France fired its naval cruise missile, a weapon which up until then only the British and U.S.had fired against a threat.

“The first salvo did not fire,” Army Col. Patrick Steiger, spokesman for the French Joint Chief of Staff, told Defense News on April 18.”

The launch failures may not have been limited to French ships.  A French aircraft may have also had a launch failure.

“The spokesman declined to comment on why the French Air Force did not fire a 10th cruise missile, as reported by website Le Mamouth.

The Air Force declined comment. Each of the five Rafale fighter jets on the mission carried two Scalp cruise weapons, of which nine were fired.”

I’ve harped on the US readiness issues but France appears to have issues of their own.



________________________________________

(1)Defense News website, “France turns to plan B when missile launch fails during Syria airstrikes”, Pierre Tran, 18-Apr-2018,


27 comments:

  1. France has been conducting active military ooerations against ISIS since 2014, so I wouldn't read too much into recent events. The timing is awkward, but they their part off.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "France has been conducting active military ooerations against ISIS since 2014"

      I guess the question is, how successfully? How many anti-ISIS attacks have failed? Is it just coincidence that in the only documented, reported operation they had at least one, and possibly two, platform launch failures? It might be or it might be a symptom of systemic problems.

      This is kind of analogous to the recent US ship collisions and groundings. On the one hand, you culd say, hey, we've been conducting basic seamanship since 2014 so I wouldn't read too much into it or we could recognize that the collisions were symptoms of a fleet wide problem with manning, training, and over-deployment.

      As a general rule, I don't believe in coincidence.

      Delete
    2. I see that Russia has just announced that they will no longer allow their businesses to provide airlift for NATO militaries. France was specifically cited as one of the countries that would be seriously impacted by this. I'm astounded that France would be dependent to even the slightest degree on Russian resources for military transport. If all this is true, it reinforces my suggestion that French military capabilities are severely limited.

      Delete
    3. The USSR had a vast airlift capability.
      Russia inherited it.

      With no use for dozens or super heavy lift aircraft they were leased out very cheaply on commercial markets.

      For people with periodic needs, it was very attractive.

      You probably dont want to know how much of ISAF was reliant on Ukranian flagged but Russian heavy lift fixed and rotary winged logistics.

      Delete
  2. Regarding French military operations... https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/11/the-french-way-of-war-213372

    Well, they do mount operations with very few resources. Having Uk and France some of the strongest armed forces in the world (among the 20 strongest, in my opinion), what can be expected from other countries, I.e., African, South American, etc.?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I wonder if this failure to launch the Fremm could affect the FFGX competition I don't think so but anything can happen besides it's Italian version that was entered

    ReplyDelete
  4. American warfighting readiness problems are nothing when compared with the European warfighting capabilities...

    ReplyDelete
  5. French and British air forces cannot sustain a high intensity campaign .

    Just imagine if both forces had to pull the recent strike on they're own, firing a little over 100 cruise missiles .. and had to do the same the next day.. and the day after.
    3 days and the whole cruise missile arsenal of both countries would be expired :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The recent Libya involvement clearly demonstrated the inability to sustain combat.

      More to the point of the post, though, you make a good point that if either France or the UK had wanted to conduct the entire attack on their own, they would have been unable to assemble the needed force in any useful time frame.

      Delete
    2. In sheer complexity the Lybian campaign was way below a Red Flag exercise

      Delete
  6. Usually, UK and France are considered in top tier of Western military, just right behind USA....if France can't fire more than 3 CMs! we might have some big problems with our "allies", not that is really surprising, UK has been downsizing so much that give it a few more years, they will become irrelevant. France does great in Africa but very dubious they could sustain any hard fighting against a peer force....we won't find out but is 3 CMs a normal load for the French or UK ships? if true, not much of a load out....

    ReplyDelete
  7. We always complain about testing or lack thereof, or not following thru, seems like US isn't the only country with some problems....wonder how often and how much these French/UK cruise missiles have been tested?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Both France and the UK have critically undersized aaw magazines.
    The UK has 6 48vls ships
    France less.

    The UKs strike capacity comes entirely from the as yet not in service carriers.
    Given our severely limited budget, removing scarce vls aaw in favour of vls strike, when we have effectively inexhaustible air launched cruise missiles, would be madness

    France only has it because their carrierless FREMM partners demanded it.
    They too would much prefer to use CdG for strike.

    The launch failure is unfortunate, but unlikely to be important, especially given the immature nature of the system
    Although the deployment of immature systems is dangerous.



    Air launched fast cruise missiles is one of the few places where France and the UK dont have shortages, buying a thousand storm shadows each.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Air launched fast cruise missiles is one of the few places where France and the UK dont have shortages, buying a thousand storm shadows each."

      You may have slightly missed the point of the post. Readiness for combat is not about inventories (well, it is to an extent), it's about presence. It does no good to have a thousand missiles in inventory back in France when you need 100 at some remote location immediately. It's the insufficient numbers of useful platforms and the very limited global, or even regional, coverage that entails that's the main point.

      Delete
    2. Were this a serious enough matter, France could have CdG with its airwing and pummeled Syria.


      No one except the US can do more than a token response 100miles away on a few days notice.

      Delete
    3. "Were this a serious enough matter, France could have CdG with its airwing and pummeled Syria."

      Well, that's kind of my point. As I understand it, CdG is NOT currently available as it is undergoing an 18 month refit. That's the problem with only one carrier, it's only sporadically available.

      Delete
  9. Did a quick Wiki search, I know NOT the best but it said the Surface launched missile numbers : 50 in service, 100 ordered for ships and another 50 for subs. Looks like French navy will have about 200 cruise missiles for ships and subs, thats not a lot, no wonder they only wanted to fire 3, they only have 50 in inventory right now. ....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So they could not have performed the mission themselves, having only half the required missiles - hence, my point about France needing to give some serious thought to their military capabilities versus their geopolitical and strategic requirements. The two seem out of whack although I readily admit that I have little understanding of France's geopolitical and strategic requirements.

      This also brings up another point I've mentioned on occasion - that the US is in it alone when it comes to war. No other country has anywhere near the resources and capabilities to make a significant contribution with the possible exception of Japan.

      Delete
    2. Lets say they are buying 1000: 800 air launched and 200 surface launched cruise missiles, you are looking at a week pretty much of operations, not really much even if you add UK, 2 weeks tops....I wouldn't be surprised if same goes along for PGM/LGBs, probably exhaust stocks super fast.

      Delete
  10. It's shameful that Germany, the largest EU economy, has armed forces in a pitiful state and deteriorating rapidly. At least the French and British are stepping up to provide some support - most of the rest of Europe doesn't even attempt to pay its way in the defence area. Trump should threaten to suspend Germany from NATO until it steps up.

    ReplyDelete
  11. The problem, more than really % of spending is it's lost to duplication, no to little coordination, bad policies, etc,etc,etc....taking UK,France,Germany,Italy and Spain put together(2017 military spending)=61 billion Euros+41+40+21+11=174 billion euros or $215 billion, not great but if you add up the other countries, you probably get close to $300 billion BUT since every little country in Europe does pretty much what it wants with their money, Europe is getting little bang for it's buck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's unlikely to change without a 'United States of Europe'

      Delete
    2. "since every little country in Europe does pretty much what it wants with their money, Europe is getting little bang for it's buck!"

      Good observation.

      Delete
  12. That doesn't suprise me - those things happen to both untested and highly complex weapon systems, and the MdCN is indeed both.
    Whether it will get better doesn't matter, as a 2.8 Million euros ordnance isn't worth firing anyways.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Whether it will get better doesn't matter, as a 2.8 Million euros ordnance isn't worth firing anyways."

      I'm not understanding your point. What are you saying?

      Delete
    2. What I am saying is that France cannot afford such expensive ordnance - the French military already has huge problems of maintenance, training, overdeployment, etc...

      Besides, such expensive weaponry will be far too quickly expended in an actual war - remember when the Kosovo campaign in 1999 expended the entire US Tomahawk inventory in Europe, and for little to no results ?

      Delete

Comments will be moderated for posts older than 30 days in order to reduce spam.