PARIS, Oct. 2 (UPI) — France will increase its 2016 defense budget by $671 million to $32 billion according to a parliamentary bill published on Wednesday, even as the country enacts corporate and income tax cuts worth more than $12 billion.
The budget calls for an increase from roughly $18.7 billion to over $19 billion for military equipment, covering a number of deliveries slated for next year, including nine Rafale fighters, three A400M transport aircraft, five Tiger combat helicopters, and six NH90 transport helicopters, along with a frigate, missiles for the frigate and a Barracuda attack submarine, and 25 heavy vehicles.
Some $4.2 billion is allocated to research and development. Other pending contracts include the Mirage 2000D attack aircraft, and a naval anti-mine drone.
French government officials began announcing their intent to increase military spending in April, citing the need to be more proactive in combating terrorism on its home soil and around the world, following the terror attack on French satire publication Charlie Hebdo.
“If French people are to have confidence in the future, they must feel safe everywhere,” said French President François Hollande.
France is one of the top defense-spending and exporting countries in the world. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, a think tank, ranked France as the world’s fifth largest defense spender, above the U.K. and just below Saudi Arabia.