According to confidential defence documents leaked to the French press, less than half of France's Leclerc tanks – 142 out of 346 – are operational and even these regularly break down.
Less than half of its Puma helicopters, 37 per cent of its Lynx choppers and 33 per cent of its Super Frelon models – built 40 years ago – are in a fit state to fly, according to documents seen by Le Parisien newspaper.
Two thirds of France's Mirage F1 reconnaissance jets are unusable at present.
....The disclosure comes just ten days before President Nicolas Sarkozy announces a major reform of the armed forces, with a defence white paper outlining France's military priorities for the next 15 years.
He is expected to argue that the situation can only improve by reducing the number of France's operational troops from 50,000 to 30,000, and its fighter aircraft, as well as closing military bases.