The French defence industry is lobbying politicians for more assistance in securing lucrative foreign contracts.

In an industry white paper, firms have demanded a stronger political push to help them win contracts, as well boost in research spending from €750m to €1bn to help them gain a technological edge, news agency Reuters reports.

The white paper is the beginning of a lobbying campaign ahead of a major review of French defence strategy expected in 2008.

Dassualt Aviation chief executive Charles Edelstenne told a news conference politicians in other countries such as the US and Germany helped to win orders, but France’s priority was diplomatic success, not exports.

“Exports have not been mobilised as a national priority, with each minister wearing the words ‘export, export, export’ stamped on his forehead,” he said.