FRENCH ARMED FORCES, 1990-2020
Unit Data for Boots, Tracks, and Rotors and Emcon C
by Mike J.
The J-8 Shop

Introduction
France remains one of the major military powers of Europe. No European country matches the range of capabilities possessed by the French military. Great Britain comes close, but it nevertheless lacks such major weapon systems as air-superiority fighters (to be remedied once the Eurofighter enters into service) and large aircraft carriers (the three Invincibles are inferior to the Charles de Gaulle and its Rafale/Hawkeye airgroup, and the capability gap will be only partly closed once a new class of British aircraft carriers enters service in the next decade). France's touts azimuts strategy which it followed during the Cold War and which paid considerable attention to force projection capabilities, left it relatively well prepared for the 1990s and the new security situation which placed a premium on out-of-area deployability. The disappearance of the Soviet threat has made it unnecessary to continue the draft, and resulted in the implementation of an all-volunteer force beginning in the late 1990s. This development has important ramifications for French out-of-area intervention capabilities, since the French Constitution places severe restrictions on the government's ability to send draftees to fight in overseas conflicts. The creation of an all-volunteer force means virtually every unit in the French Army is now eligible for overseas deployment. Whereas the French force that participated in the Operation Desert Storm was cobbled together out of the all-volunteer elements of the French Army, an effective though clumsy and imperfect solution, the increasing professionalization of the French military will make future such deployments much easier, particularly ones involving heavy forces which prior to the 1990s were largely manned by draftees. The ability to send heavy forces overseas was exercised in May 2002 (deployment of the 2eme Brigade Blindee to Ukraine) and November 2002 (a smaller deployment to Qatar), exercises that appear to have been rehearsals for the projected French military participation in the anti-Iraq coalition. Although a number of French ground and air units were alerted for such a mission in early 2003, subsequent political developments have precluded French military participation in the Operation Iraqi Freedom. However, a French contingent consisting of Marine, Parachute, and mountain infantry units, as well as special operations troops of the COS and a Mirage-2000D squadron based in Turkmenistan, has been active in Afghanistan since 2002. French forces have also remained active in peacekeeping operations in the Balkans and a number of civil wars in Africa, most notably in the Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone. French units have also been deployed to Chad to protect the refugee camps against attacks by the Sudanese military and militias. In the event of a UN-authorized military action against Sudan, French forces would likely see action on that front.

Organizationally, the Armee de Terre has discarded the division-based organization and downsized to a force of 8 maneuver brigades (2 armored, 2 mechanized, 2 light armored, 1 airborne, 1 mountain), in addition to a variety of separate maneuver and support regiments. The order of battle also includes one airmobile brigade (1 reconnaissance, 2 combat, and 1 transport helicopter regiments) and 1 artillery support brigade (2 MLRS regiments, 3 SAM regiments with Aster-15/30, Roland, and Mistral missiles). The brigades themselves are not permanently constituted, and a deploying brigade is likely to have a mix of regiments different from its peacetime establishment. The brigades are organized as follows:
Armored Brigade: 1 Leclerc Regiment (2 Groupes d'Escadrons of 40 tanks each), 1 AMX-30 Regiment (being phased out), 2 AMX-10P regiments, 1 SP 155mm regiment.
Mechanized Brigade: 1 Leclerc Regiment, 1 AMX-10P regiment, , 1 VAB Regiment, 1 SP 155mm regiment.
Light Armored Brigade: 2 AMX-10RC regiments, 2 VAB regiments, 1 towed 155mm regiment.
Airborne, Mountain Brigade: 1 ERC-90 regiment, 3 (mountain) or 4 (airborne) infantry regiments. 1 towed 155mm regiment.

As new equipment becomes available, Armored and Mechanized brigades will become identical, with 1 Leclerc Regiment, 2 Mechanized Infantry Regiments mounted on the new 8x8 VBCI IFVs, and 1 SP  155mm regiment.

The Armee de l'Air is also undergoing modernization, receiving new Mirage-2000-5 and Rafale multirole fighters, and a range of new precision-guided and stand-off munitions, including the Apache ALCM. Nuclear strike capability will be retained in the form of the upgraded ASMP-A ramjet-powered supersonic ALCM. Airlift capabilities will be significantly upgraded by the Airbus A-400 turboprop.

The 1990s have been a lean decade for the Marine Nationale. It only received the austere LaFayette-class frigates, the even less capable Floreal patrol frigates, and the commissioning of the Charles de Gaulle CVN has been delayed by a number of mishaps (such as the loss of one of its screws during a high-speed run), most likely due to the nearly 4-decade break since the construction of the last French aircraft carrier. However, the two Foudre-class LPDs are a welcome addition to the amphibious forces. Naval procurement has picked up recently, with plans to acquire at least two Horizon-class AAW FFGs to replace the aging Cassards, up to 17 FREMM multirole frigates (in ASW and land-attack versions) through a cooperative program with Italy which is interested in procuring 10 similar (though not identical) frigates, 2 Mistral-class LHDs, and 6 Barracuda-class SSNs. New torpedoes (Black Shark), anti-ship (Exocet MM-40 Block 3) and land-attack missiles are also to be acquired. Time will tell whether the finances will permit this ambitious program to be realized in full.

Armee de Terre

Brigade Blindee (Brigade Mecanisee similar after AMX-30 phaseout)
 1 Leclerc Regiment, with a total of 80 Leclerc MBTs, 2 Mechanized Infantry Regiments with VBCI IFVs, 1 SP Artillery Regiment, anti-tank and reconnaissance units.Veteran, Tech 5.
Size Strength Armor Fire Support Air Defense Mobility Doctrine
2
7 (3)
IV/VIIs (V/VII*)
2 (7) [2]
[3]
5/4 M
10

Brigade Blindee Legere
 2 Light Armored Regiments with 48 AMX-10RC each, 2 Motorized Infantry Regiments with VAB APC, 1 towed Artillery Regiment. Veteran, Tech 5.
Size Strength Armor Fire Support Air Defense Mobility Doctrine
2
7 (3L)
I/II (II/V or III/VI*)
2 (7t) [2]
[3]
5/4 M
10

Brigade Parachutiste
 1 Light Armored Regiments with 36 ERC-90s, 4 Motorized Infantry Regiments with VAB APC, 1 towed Artillery Regiment. Veteran, Tech 5. Mountain Brigade similar, but with only 3 infantry regiments, and infantry Strength of (5L).
Size Strength Armor Fire Support Air Defense Mobility Doctrine
2
7 (6L)
I/I (II/IV or III/VI*)
2 (7t) [2]
[3]
5/4 M
10


In view of the modular nature of the French ground forces, statistics are presented for individual regiments. Organic air defense values assume attached Mistral SAM platoons from the Artillery Support Brigade.

Leclerc Groupe d'Escadrons
 3 Leclerc squadrons, with a total of 40 Leclerc MBTs. Each regiment consists of two such groupes. Veteran, Tech 5.
Size Strength Armor Fire Support Air Defense Mobility Doctrine
.4
1.4
VIIs
[2]
[3]
5/4 M
10

Light Armored Regiment (AMX-10RC)
 4 AMX-10RC squadrons, with a total of 48 AMX-10RC armored cars. Veteran, Tech 5.
Size Strength Armor Fire Support Air Defense Mobility Doctrine
.5
1.5
II (V)
[2]
[3] 5/4 M
10

Light Armored Regiment (ERC-90)
 3 light armored squadrons with 36 ERC-90s, 1 Reconnaissance and Anti-Tank squadron with 32 VBLs, including 16 w/Milan ATGMs. Veteran, Tech 5.
Size Strength Armor Fire Support Air Defense Mobility Doctrine
.4
1.2
I (IV or VI*)
[1]
[3] 5/4 M
10

Mechanized Infantry Regiment (VBCI)
 4 Mechanized Infantry Companies, AT, mortar, and reconnaissance platoons. Veteran, Tech 5.
Size Strength Armor Fire Support Air Defense Mobility Doctrine
.5
1.5 (1.5)
II (III/VI*)
[3]
[3] 5/4M
10

Motorized Infantry Regiment (VAB)
 4 Mechanized Infantry Companies. Veteran, Tech 5.
Size Strength Armor Fire Support Air Defense Mobility Doctrine
.5
1.5 (1.5L)
I (III/VI*)
[3]
[3]
5/4 M
10

Infantry Regiment (VLRA)
 4 Infantry companies, mounted on VLRA all-terrain trucks. This mode of transport may be used by parachute and mountain units if lift is not available for their VABs. Veteran, Tech 5.
Size Strength Armor Fire Support Air Defense Mobility Doctrine
.5
1.5 (1.5L)
(III/VI*)
[2]
[3]
5/4 M
10

Attack Helicopter Regiment (Tigre/Gerfaut)
 4 Attack Helicopter Flights, with a total of 40 Tigre/Gerfaut helicopters, armed with cannon, Trigat LR ATGMs, 80mm rockets, Mistral AAMs. Veteran, Tech 5.
Size Strength Armor Fire Support Air Defense Mobility Doctrine
.4
1.3
I (VII*)
--
[3]
5/4M (8A)
11

Transport Helicopter Regiment (Puma/Cougar)
 4 Transport Helicopter Flights, with a total of 48 Puma or Cougar transport helicopters. Veteran, Tech 5.
Size Strength Armor Fire Support Air Defense Mobility Doctrine
.5 L
--
--
--
--
5/4 M (8A)
11

Artillery Regiment, AU-F1 GCT
 4 Batteries with a total of 32 AU-F1 GCT SP 155mm howitzers. Veteran, Tech 5. TR-F1-equipped regiments have the same characteristics, but are towed (FS marked with "t"). The new CAESAR SP howitzer-equipped regiment will have the same characteristic, but FS value of (6).
Size Strength Armor Fire Support Air Defense Mobility Doctrine
--
--
--
2 (7)
--
5/4M
--

MLRS Regiment
 3 batteries with 24 MLRS. Veteran, Tech 5.
Size Strength Armor Fire Support Air Defense Mobility Doctrine
--
--
--
1.3 (11hr)
--
5/4 M
--

Long-Range SAM Regiment
 4 PAAMS batteries (Aster-15 and Aster-30 missiles). Veteran, Tech 5.
Size Strength Armor Fire Support Air Defense Mobility Doctrine
--
--
--
--
4 (7)
5/4 M
--

Armee de l'Air

 Mirage 2000-5 Squadron
15 Mirage 2000-5 fighters, armed with Mica AAMs. Veteran, Tech 5.

Size

Detection

Air

Surface

ASW

Survivability

Movement

Special

1.5 F
--
6
5
--
7 [1a]
1/2/5r


 Mirage 2000D Squadron
15 Mirage 2000D strike fighters. Veteran, Tech 5.

Size

Detection

Air

Surface

ASW

Survivability

Movement

Special

1.5 A
--
4
6gs
--
7 [1a, 2g]
1/2/5r
SEAD 6, Recon 5

 Rafale Squadron
15 Rafale multirole fighters. Veteran, Tech 5. When Meteor AAM is deployed, increase 1a Survivability modifier to 2a.

Size

Detection

Air

Surface

ASW

Survivability

Movement

Special

1.5 FA
--
6
6gs
--
8s1 [1a, 2g, 1s]
1/3/6r
SEAD 6, Recon 5

E-3C Sentry flight

2 E-3 AEW aircraft. Veteran, Tech 5.

Size

Detection

Air

Surface

ASW

Survivability

Movement

Special

.2

10/10

--

--

--

5 [4]

4/8/16

 


E-2C Hawkeye flight

2 E-2C AEW aircraft. Veteran, Tech 5.

Size

Detection

Air

Surface

ASW

Survivability

Movement

Special

.2

10/10

--

--

--

4 [4]

1/3/6

 



Marine Nationale

Charles de Gaulle CVN

Veteran, Tech 5. Aster 15 and Mistral SAM.  Airgroup includes 32 Rafale fighters, 2 E-2C Hawkeye AEW aircraft, helicopters.

Size

Detection

Air

Surface

ASW

Survivability

Movement

Special

1 [.4 a]

10/10

8s {3} [4s]

--

--

C (+1)

7 [n]

 


Forbin FFG

Horizon-class AAW frigates. Exocet MM-40 missiles, PAAMS system with Aster-15 and -30 missiles. Veteran, Tech 5. When vertical-launch Exocet is deployed, add a 4s [1] SSM value for every increase by 1 in the SAM depletion number.

Size

Detection

Air

Surface

ASW

Survivability

Movement

Special

1 [.2]

9/10

13s {2} [4s]

4s [1]; 1

[4]

E

7 [55]

 


FREMM FFG (ASW)

Anti-submarine version of the FREMM frigate. Veteran, Tech 5. When vertical-launch Exocet is deployed, decrease base SAM depletion number to 1, and double the SAM depletion number for every 4s [1] SSM value increase.

Size

Detection

Air

Surface

ASW

Survivability

Movement

Special

1 [.2]

8/10

8s {2} [4s]

4s [1]; 1

8

E (+1)

7 [50]

 


FREMM FFG (land-attack)

Land-attack version of the FREMM frigate. Veteran, Tech 5. Scalp Naval SLCMs will be housed in the Sylver VLS also used for the Aster missiles. Each increment of 4L land attack value (range [2]) doubles the SAM depletion value. When vertical-launch Exocet is deployed, decrease base SAM depletion number to {1}, and double the SAM depletion number for every 4s [1] SSM value increase.

Size

Detection

Air

Surface

ASW

Survivability

Movement

Special

1 [.2]

8/10

8s {2} [4s]

4s [1]; 2

6

E (+1)

7 [50]

 


Barracuda SSN

Veteran, Tech 5. Armed with Black Shark torpedoes, Scalp Naval SLCMs.

Size

Detection

Air

Surface

ASW

Survivability

Movement

Special

1

--/7

--

8 {4}

8

E

7 [n]

 


Foudre LPD

 Veteran, Tech 5. May carry  1 regiment of troops, including heavy vehicles.

Size

Detection

Air

Surface

ASW

Survivability

Movement

Special

1

--

-- [0s]

--

--

C

4 [60]

 


Mistral LHD

 Veteran, Tech 5. May carry 1 regiment of troops, and up to 16 troop-carrying helicopters. For BT&R purposes, organic transport helicopters are assumed to have Size .2, Airmobile movement of 8.

Size

Detection

Air

Surface

ASW

Survivability

Movement

Special

1

--

-- [0s]

--

--

C

4 [60]

 


Mike J.
=====
The J-8 Shop
Wargame Rules, Variants, and Orders of Battle
http://www.geocities.com/pmj6/


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