Urging Faster Production, Are Defense Manufacturers Ready?

aI can’t express himself or “We are waiting, we are in a political time” In recent days several large defense industry groups have made it clear to us on our requests after announcing the main lines of the Future Military Programming Act (LPM) 2024-2030 which will have a budget of more than 400 billion euros.

Other news regarding them comes from the statements of the Minister of the Armed Forces, Sebastien Licorne, calling for them to produce faster in a tense geopolitical context: Defense companies have to take more risks.

Faced with our questions, these industries are particularly willing to wait for the law to pass through parliament and see how it translates into software.

Indeed, while the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, announced, on January 20, a 60% increase budget for armies until 2030, he has not yet specified how it will be distributed.

Production flow to serial production

Which army will take command? What types of equipment will France invest heavily in? Caesar guns or underwater drones? How about a second aircraft carrier? Questions abound, but one thing is for sure: The big groups say they’re willing to produce more. “We adapt to requests as necessary and as we’ve always known how to do”someone says.

At Nexter, the well-known manufacturer of the Caesar cannon, we are told that the group is ready to change the paradigm with the transition from the current stream production model to the mass production model, but not under any circumstances: “We really want to take on more risks by building up inventories, buying raw materials and hiring more people, but all of this has a cost that we alone as manufacturers can’t afford.”

We were told: ‘This requires seeing the order table.’ An opinion shared by Kevin Martin, of Defense and Industry at the Foundation for Strategic Research (FRS): “It’s one thing to produce more and take risks, but there’s an important factor: inventory management.”

continues: To start with a massive inventory build-up would be very costly for these companies.” To reduce costs while increasing production rates, the researcher proposes, for example, transition or synergy between large combinations in the arrangement of raw materials such as steel, titanium or metal alloys. “Consultation is very important.”

Reservists in factories?

In this context, since last September, a working group has been commissioned by the Minister of the Armed Forces with all the industrialists from the Industrial and Technological Base of Defense (BITD). They are called upon to reflect on how they can adapt their tools of production to the situation of the war economy.

Finally, from the point of view of human resources, are manufacturers ready to recruit in large numbers while the French Ground, Air and Land Defense and Security Industries Group (GICAT) is having great difficulty recruiting? If so, what are the skills?

Defense careers require unique expertise. We will not be able to open four production lines overnight. To overcome these staffing difficulties, the BITD Industrial Consultation is considering the use of young retirees from the field or even industrial reserves.

It turned out to be good. And the President of the Republic announced, during his pledge to the armies, to double the number of reservists, which is currently 40,000.

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