Will France Really Be Giving All Decommissioned Weaponry to Ukraine, Including VAB APCs, Leclerc Tanks, Mirage Fighters?

Mirage 2000-5 aircraft being decommissioned by France
Mirage 2000-5 aircraft being decommissioned by France

If the words of the French Defense Minister are not just a statement, then we are talking about over a thousand VAB armored personnel carriers, a hundred Leclerc tanks, and dozens of fighter jets

French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu announced a decision to transfer decommissioned weapons to Ukraine.

"As we reinvest significant funds in our army according to the plan amounting to 413 billion euros for the years 2024-2030, we have a lot of equipment that is still operational and will be decommissioned. Instead of throwing it away or giving it to other countries, we are giving it to the Ukrainian army," said the head of the French defense agency in an interview with Var-Matin.

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The AMX-10 RC is a French-armored fighting vehicle manufactured by Nexter Systems for armored reconnaissance purposes

If these words indeed reflect a genuine commitment to support Ukraine, then it is about an extremely powerful source of weaponry.

First and foremost, there is the extensive SCORPION program launched in 2014, involving the rearmament of the French Army with Griffon and Serval armored vehicles, the Jaguar combat reconnaissance vehicles, and the modernization of Leclerc tanks to the XLR level.

Under this program, Griffon VBMR and Serval VBMR-L replace the VAB APCs. The approximate number of these armored vehicles in service in France is around 1800 units, but not all of them are combat-ready. The replacement has been ongoing for several years, and around 600 units of Griffon have been delivered.

VAB, Defense Express
VAB (Véhicule de l'Avant Blindé)

Also arises whether the possible transfer includes another hundred Leclerc tanks, which are not eligible for XLR modernization and which are gradually being reduced.

Leclerc tank, Defense Express
Leclerc tanks

Nevertheless, not all rearmament in France concerns only SCORPION and the ground forces. There is also a replacement in the aviation sector with the phasing out of Mirage 2000, which is gradually being replaced by Rafale. The latest Mirage 2000 aircraft to be phased out of service will evidently be the Mirage 2000D, which will undergo RMV modernization by 2025 with the integration of MICA missiles.

Mirage 2000-5, Defense Express
Mirage 2000-5 aircraft

Therefore, the first to be replaced should be the Mirage 2000-5. In the combat-ready category, there are 27 single-seat Mirage 2000-5 and 7 two-seat Mirage 2000B aircraft.

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