Thales to supply instrumentation for new-generation French Army live combat training centres

Thales has won the CERBERE contract to upgrade the instrumentation for the French Army’s live combat training centres. The new system will be installed at the Sissonne army base for urban combat training and at Mailly-le-Camp for training in open terrain operations. The CERBERE solution will enable combined-arms task forces to train in conditions very close to those encountered on operational deployments. The French defence procurement agency (DGA) awarded the contract to Thales and its partner RUAG Defence France at the end of 2016.


As the state-of-the-art instrumented tactical engagement simulation system for training land forces under real operational conditions, CERBERE enables modern armed forces to track and analyse every phase of a tactical engagement when training for the digitised battlefield.

To develop this innovative and robust simulation system, Thales has drawn on more than 20 years of experience as industrial prime contractor for live combat training programmes, in particular with the CENTAURE system currently in service with the French Army. The CERBERE programme positions Thales as a world leader in new-generation simulation systems for live combat training, with a diversified range of innovative solutions for operations in both urban areas and open terrain.

Built around an open architecture, the competitively priced CERBERE system offers substantial development headroom to accommodate new technologies and can be readily adapted to meet the needs of other nations.

With the SCORPION programme to upgrade the French Army’s warfighting capabilities and replace its vehicle fleets, the future CONTACT software-defined radio and increasing battlefield digitisation, training requirements are changing. In particular, infrastructure features and equipment need to be specially instrumented to support collaborative combat training. The CERBERE instrumentation contract enables the French Army to make the best possible use of simulation, which now plays a crucial role in instruction, training and mission preparation.

CERBERE furnishes more than 2,000 participants (infantry soldiers, armoured vehicles, etc.) with tracking and simulation instruments. At Sissonne, a 300- building combat village is fully equipped to track and analyse combat manoeuvres inside and outside structures. At Mailly-le-Camp, exercises are conducted in open terrain over a training area of 120 sq. km.

Personnel taking part in training exercises are issued with laser transmitters and receivers to simulate weapon firing and effects. A high-performance positioning system (accurate to within 1 cm inside buildings) reports positions and engagements across a high-speed data network in near real time.

Pyrotechnic devices and smoke grenades are used intensively to simulate real battlefield conditions, to help personnel experience the stress of combat in situations that closely resemble live missions.

For tactical situation tracking and combat supervision, Thales is also providing a dedicated communication infrastructure, which draws on the latest civil mobile telephony technologies adapted to this training system in France, as well as securing data transmissions (LTE). Importantly, the system includes an after- action review function to analyse collective or individual manoeuvres after the combat phases of the mission. This after-action review function completes the learning process in combined-arms training and improves the operational performance of units in the field.