The French Aerospace and Defense Industries: changing dynamics of procurement and consolidation
Donovan, Mark H.
Yost, David S.
Patenaude, Bertrand M.
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France's traditions of national sovereignty and its global status as a "great power" help to explain its investments in an independent and autonomous armaments industry. The resulting capabilities, ranging from fighter aircraft to nuclear weapons, have helped to ensure the position of France as a leading nation during the latter half of the twentieth century. Overcoming the inherent problems associated with state control and oversight of the means of production, France has developed a robust manufacturing capability and has produced, among other systems, technologically advanced designs in combat aircraft (the Rafale fighter), space rocket launchers (the Ariane 5 launcher), and remote sensing satellites (the Helios military satellite). However, the need to continue incorporating modem, expensive technology into French systems in the face of budgetary cutbacks has brought the future viability of autonomous and French-led programs into question. As a result, France and other major European nations have tried to find a common solution to consolidate each country's aerospace and defense firms into one corporate entity that could compete effectively against the United States. However, problems rooted in maintaining national capabilities, especially in France, have kept this design from becoming a reality
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