French Arms Exports Spiked 31 Percent in 2018

France remains one of the world’s leading defense exporters, with its place among the top three nations secured following a jump in sales last year amounting to 31 percent year-on-year from 2017. The other leading arms-exporting countries are the United States and Russia.

The rise from EUR6.9 billion in sales during 2017 to EUR9.1 billion ($10.24 billion) in 2018 reflects the peak-through-valley stretch of French exports over a four-year period.  During 2015, French exports reached a record high of EUR16.9 billion before slipping to EUR13.9 billion in 2016, then further down by 50 percent in 2017.

At least a quarter of France’s arms exports during 2018 went to European nations, a significant rise from the prior 10 percent average.  The largest single recipient of French hardware by value was Qatar, with some $2.7 billion in purchases related to Rafale combat aircraft and NH-90 helicopters.  Other major purchasers were Belgium, Saudi Arabia, Spain, India, Thailand and Egypt.

Image: Stockvault/Nicolas Raymond – Nicolas Raymond

About Daniel Darling

Dan Darling is Forecast International’s director of military and defense markets. In this role, Dan oversees a team of analysts tasked with covering everything from budgeting to weapons systems to defense electronics and military aerospace. Additionally, for over 17 years Dan has, at various times, authored the International Military Markets reports for Europe, Eurasia, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region. Dan's work has been cited in Defense News, Real Clear Defense, Asian Military Review, Al Jazeera, and Financial Express, among others, and he has also contributed commentary to The Diplomat, The National Interest and World Politics Review. He has been quoted in Arabian Business, the Financial Times, Flight International, The New York Times, Bloomberg and National Defense Magazine. In addition, Dan has made guest appearances on the online radio show Midrats and on The Media Line, as well as The Red Line Podcast, plus media appearances on France 24 and World Is One News (WION).

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