Day two of the press tour took place at Nexter premises, introduced by Gen. (ret) Jean-Marc Duquesne, GICAT Managing director, who underlined how innovation will contribute to reduce the fog of war, citing as an example the Scorpion programme, which generates from operational considerations in the late 1990s that led to the so-called BOA (Bulle Opérationnelle Aéroterrestre, airland operational bubble), that gave birth to Scorpion when some of the technologies taken into consideration became sufficiently mature. Scorpion Step 2 R&D funding will be part of the 2019-25 planning. The aim is to increase the land warfare R&D share, including Big Data and Robotics, and to start getting a vision on the future French Army main battle tank, known as Main Ground Combat System (MGCS), and the future artillery system, the Common Indirect Fire System (CIFS). “We need to launch good programmes, capable of adapting themselves to new missions, and this must be done in cooperation between the Armed Forces, the big industrial groups, small and medium enterprises and start-ups,” Gen. Duquesne underlined, announcing that innovation will be the key driver at Eurosatory 2018 that will take place in June 2018 at the Parc des Expositions in Paris Villepinte.
Brigadier Rémi Fouilland, director of the STAT (Service Technique de l’Armée de Terre, the Army technical service), underlined the focus of its organisation towards innovation, citing some of the recent programmes such a survey on current technologies, which is leading to the acquisition of some hundreds of Black Hornet nano-drones to be deployed at squad level, the development of demonstrators such as that of a blimp with a light logistic footprint deployed during Operation Barkhane in the Sahel, or that of a specific litter for casualty transport on board the Caïman helicopter, as the NH-90 is known in the French Army. New programmes are underway, such as a study for a new version of the Auxylium network, allowing secure communications through smartphones and tablets fitted with crypto elements. The Auxylium provides not only communications but also data link between, vehicles and drones at distance, and is in use since 2016 in Paris for Operation Sentinelle, launched following November 2015 terrorist attacks in the French capital. Now the DGA is looking at expanding the concept for other uses. Within Scorpion an improvement in visual concealment is sought, a new camouflage scheme being under study, that will have as a base a coyote tan pain ting on all the vehicle; adhesive scratches of different shapes and colours will then be added, the work being done by two people in less than two hours, allowing to adapt the vehicle camouflage to the actual situation. Such a solution should be adopted in a few years time.
The floor was then open to the various industrial actors to introduce their products, some of them already on the market, some in development. In order to facilitate our readers, we prefer to split them by company in order to allow an easier reading.