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Corps de l'armement

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Corps de l'armement
Casquette-ingénieur général de première classe-IMG 9255.JPG
Hat of an Engineer-General, First Class.
Country France
BranchAerospace & Defence
TypeCorps of military engineers
RoleManagement of Aerospace & Defence Programmes, Research & Testing

The Corps de l'armement, or corps des ingénieurs de l'armement[1] is a Technical Grand Corps of the French State (grand corps de l'Etat),[2] aimed at providing the French Armed Forces with all appropriate equipment and at supervising the French Aerospace & Defence industry.

Its members are the ingénieurs de l'armement, or ingénieurs du corps de l'armement, nicknamed "IA" in French. They are high level engineers and public servants with military status, originating for most of them (more than 2/3 by decree[3]) from Ecole polytechnique[4] and trained at Institut supérieur de l'aéronautique et de l'espace (ISAE) (formation SUPAERO), ENSTA ParisTech or other French or international universities.

The Corps de l'armement's main employer (50%) is the Direction générale de l'armement (General Directorate for Armament).[5] The second half are employed in other bodies of the Ministry of Defence, in international Defence organizations (NATO, OCCAR,...) or can be detached in French administrative bodies (CNES, CEA, ESA,...) or the French and European industry (EADS, Safran, Thales Group, MBDA, DCNS...).

Prehistory of the Corps of Armament

The Corps of Armament was created in 1968 as a fusion of previous Corps of military engineers[6] recruiting at Ecole polytechnique

  • Corps of Aeronautics engineers (corps des ingénieurs de l'air - or de l'aéronautique)
  • Corps of naval engineers (corps du génie maritime[7][8])
  • Corps of Powders and Explosives engineers (corps des ingénieurs des poudres et explosifs)
  • Corps of Military Telecom engineers (corps des ingénieurs des télécom militaires)
  • Corps of Armament Fabrications engineers (corps des ingénieurs des fabrications d'armement)

In 1743, the "Ecole des constructeurs de vaisseaux royaux" was created to train Naval engineers. This school is known today as ENSTA ParisTech.

Corps of Armament and High tech Colbertism

The role played by the Corps of Armament in the development of the French Aerospace & Defence industry in particular with the logic of Grands Projets (Concorde, Airbus,[9] Ariane,...) can be compared with the role of the Corps des télécommunications in the development of the French telecom industry (telephone, Minitel,...) or the role of the Corps des mines or the Corps des ponts with their respective Grands Projets (Nuclear industry, TGV,...). They illustrate the Colbertism, a French version of Mercantilism.

French Colbertism is an old tradition dating back to the 17th century influenced at that time by the Chinese system. French high public servants are still nicknamed "mandarins" referring to their Chinese counterparts.

The French economist Elie Cohen described the effects of French Colbertism in the field of High tech in a renowned book entitled "High tech Colbertism - Economics of the Grand Projet" (1995).[10]

High tech Colbertism can be characterized by a prevalent role played in France by the Administration and the Grand Corps. A typical Colbertist mechanism is the "pantouflage" where top civil servants become Heads of French public companies. The word "pantouflage" cannot be directly translated in English nor in any Western language but can be translated in Japanese where a comparable mechanism exists. The Japanese word is "amakudari" ("fallen from the sky").

Notable members of the Corps de l'armement

Heads of the Direction générale de l'armement

Heads of other public bodies

Top industrialists

Aerospace engineers

Naval, nuclear & telecom engineers



  1. ^ Décret n° 2008-941 du 12 septembre 2008 portant statut particulier du corps militaire des ingénieurs de l'armement
  2. ^ Rapport Canepa–Folz au Premier Ministre sur l’avenir des corps d’ingénieurs de l’Etat, janvier 2009
  3. ^ Décret n° 2008-941 du 12 septembre 2008 portant statut particulier du corps militaire des ingénieurs de l'armement, CHAPITRE II : RECRUTEMENT
  4. ^ "Site de l'Ecole polytechnique - Direction de l'enseignement, Ingénieur de l'armement". Archived from the original on 2006-11-28. Retrieved 2012-09-24.
  5. ^ Site officiel de la DGA, Les ingénieurs de l'armement (IA) exercent des fonctions de direction, de contrôle, d'inspection et de coordination dans toutes les activités relatives à l'armement
  6. ^ Site de l'Ecole des mines de Paris, 1968, Les carrières d'ingénieurs de l'armement, Lettre du Délégué ministériel à l'armement Michel Fourquet aux polytechniciens de la promotion X68 Archived 2008-08-07 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Patrons de France, Le corps du génie maritime se compose, à l'origine, des ingénieurs chargés de diriger la construction de vaisseaux et les travaux relatifs à ce service[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "site ENSTA, Le  corps du Génie Maritime a fusionné en 1967 et 1970 avec cinq autres corps d'ingénieurs militaires, pour former le corps des ingénieurs de l'armement" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-06-19. Retrieved 2012-10-12.
  9. ^ Du Concorde à l'Airbus, de la stratégie de l'arsenal à la stratégie du marché, Pierre Müller, FNSP, 1985
  10. ^ Le Colbertisme high tech : Economie des Télécom et du Grand Projet Hachette, Pluriel, 1992

See also

This page was last edited on 7 June 2020, at 03:07
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