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Number 31
September 2020

"Russian MOD, Industries Highlight Artillery Rockets Advancement.

Defense Update, August 23, 2020

(source cross-checking)

The Russian Ministry of Defence has, over the past ten years, undertaken the modernisation of its rocket arsenal, as demonstrated at the latest Army 2020 defence exhibition from 23 to 29 August 2020. The Russian defence industry supplies 30% of the world's needs and has in particular equipped the Russian land forces with more accurate rockets with a range of up to 120 km. This investment, which covers four rocket launcher models(TORNADO - S (9A526-4), TOS, Hermes guided missile launcher and ISDM), also extends to related technologies: propulsion, flight computer and trajectory correction. The chosen concept of individual rocket reloading via an integrated crane guarantees a flexible system.

"First batch of latest Armata tanks to arrive for Russian Troops"

TASS, 31 August 2020.

"Russia's top brass wants to replace Armata with two-section 'tank of the future'"

TASS, August 25, 2020.

(source cross-checked)

The Russian industrial group Uralvagonzavod has announced the start of production of the T-14 Armata tanks. This vehicle will be equipped with an automatic turret and an armoured capsule, maximising survivability during firing exchanges. According to Russian estimates, this new T-14 tank should be operational until 2040. To replace it, a "tank of the future" is already under study and was presented at the Army 2020 exhibition. It would be composed of two modules: the first dedicated to the crew and the automated turret; the second - at the rear - dedicated to the storage of land and airborne UAVs for reconnaissance missions. Also, this "tank of the future" should be equipped with a panoramic view of the outside thanks to external visual sensors giving the impression of transparent armor for the crew.

"Lockheed Martin receives $187.5 million for mesh network of 10 small satellites."

Defence blog, 1 September 2020

(source cross-checking)

The United States Space Development Agency announced the award of a $187.5 million contract to Lockheed Martin and a $94 million contract to York Space Systems to build 20 satellites. The satellites, placed in low-Earth orbit, would provide a shared information network with high and secure bandwidth. Based on a system similar to RITA (Réseau Intégré de Transmission Automatiques), the meshed network topology of this future constellation would be based on a structure with no central hierarchy; data transfer would be carried out without intermediaries. In this system, each satellite receives, sends and relays data independently to the other satellites, giving the system a high degree of resilience.

Ukraine adopts Neptune coastal defence missile"

Jane's, August 27, 2020

(source cross-checking)

After a series of tests, the Ukrainian government announced the arrival of the RK-360MC Neptune coastal missile system within its land forces. These, inspired by the Soviet Kh-35 defence system, are produced by the Ukrainian conglomerate Ukroboronprom. The Neptune is equipped with High Explosive Fragmentation Warheads(HE-FRAG) and would be capable of flying between 3 and 10 metres above sea level to defeat enemy defences.

''Army 2020: Kronshtadt unveils small air-launched munitions for UAVs''.

Jane's, September 2, 2020

(single source)

During the Army 2020 exhibition, the industrialist JSC Kronshtadt presented a new range of air-to-ground ammunition designed to equip UAVs. Kronshtadt and other Russian industrialists are taking advantage of the buoyant UAV market to modernise the arsenal and develop new compatible weapons. In particular, Kronshtadt has unveiled a new armed version of the Orion reconnaissance drone that equipped the Russian army last spring.

''Steadicopter unveils Black Eagle 25E and 50E electric-powered VTOL drones''.

Defense news, September 1, 2020

(cross-referenced source)

Steadicopter, an Israeli company specialized in the construction of Rotary Unmanned Aerial Systems (RUAV), has unveiled the new versions of its RUAV Black Eagle 25E and Black Eagle 50E. The latter are now equipped with electric motors allowing a significant reduction in weight and greater discretion, making them particularly useful for SRI (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) missions. Weighing 18kg, they can now carry various loads up to 2kg for the first and 12kg for the second. Their autonomy varies from 1 hour for the Black Eagle 25E to 1 hour 50 minutes for the Black Eagle 50E, but can be increased by carrying additional batteries.

''British Army trialling hybrid-electric drive systems''.

Army technology, August 20, 2020

(single source)

On 20 August 2020, the British Ministry of Defence announced that a new hybrid technology was being tested on the Foxhound and Jackal 2 armoured vehicles. The introduction of this technology would allow theArmy to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, while giving it some operational superiority. Hybrid propulsion gives armoured vehicles a lower noise and heat signature and - by reducing the amount of fuel needed - lowers logistics costs and the environmental footprint.

"Signing of a new cooperation agreement between the CNRS and the Defence Innovation Agency".

Ministry of the Armed Forces, 10 September 2020

The French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the Defence Innovation Agency (AID) signed a cooperation agreement at the DefenseLab on 7 September 2020. A partnership was already in place between the CNRS and the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA), on which the AID depends. This new collaboration therefore aims at continuing mutual support, but also at setting up future thematic research projects. The latter will be linked to the priorities of the Ministry of Armed Forces, namely artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, electromagnetic and acoustic systems and the study of materials for high temperature and/or high entropy environments.

"Innovation, a top priority of the Ministry of the Armed Forces".

Ministry of the Armed Forces, 8 September 2020

During her visit to the Force Maritime des fusiliers marins et Commandos (FORFUSCO) base in Lorient, Minister Florence Parly explained the armies' innovation strategy. The 2019-2025 Military Programming Act provides for a 25% increase in the annual appropriations devoted to defence innovation, to reach one billion euros by 2022. Presented as an absolute priority by the Minister, the strategy aims to direct the majority of investments towards the development of breakthrough technologies, necessary for our strategic autonomy. With a budget of 200 million euros, and backed by Definvest (100 million euros), the Definnov fund, launched in cooperation with BpiFrance, will soon be dedicated to the development of dual (civil and military) and cross-cutting technologies, by directly financing innovative companies and start-ups. This opening to the civil innovation ecosystem is embodied by the "Red Team" project led by the IDA, in partnership with the EMA and the DGRIS. Aimed at preparing for the wars of the future, this team imagines credible threat and conflict scenarios, in order to envisage hypotheses dedicated to orienting the innovation strategy for 2030-2060.


"General Gerasimov's Russian concept of "new generation warfare": what use for the army? »

Thibault FOUILLET, research fellow at the FRS, with the assistance of General (2S) Bruno LASSALLE, associate researcher at the FRS, Fondation pour la recherche stratégique (FRS), 29 July 2020

(single source)

In February 2013, the Russian newspaper Courrier military-industrial transcribed the content of the speech of General V. Gerasimov, the Russian Chief of Staff. In it he states that the West has developed a new way of waging war by resorting to non-military means in order to destabilise Russia's "near abroad", manoeuvres which he describes as a "new generation war". His words were then relayed by an English journalist, Mark Galeotti, in an article entitled "Gerasimov Doctrine". The notion of a "new generation war" is now seen as an offensive aspect of Russian policy and is taken up in NATO circles under the name "Gerasimov doctrine". This doctrine marks the return of an integral strategy: the political, military (air, sea, land, cyber), economic (proxy warfare) and media (disinformation) dimensions are all mobilised to counter what are perceived as attempts to subvert the West. On the ground, high-intensity, in-depth operations are designed to win the day in the event of a major war. These operations combine the uses of asymmetric warfare and conventional warfare, plus the use of advanced technologies (robotics, very long-range strike vectors). The Russian vision calls for a re-reading of Foch's three principles: economy of means is ensured by recourse to non-conventional actions and low-cost capability choices, while coupled combat allows a concentration of effects. Finally, freedom of action is extended by operations conducted by surprise and primarily in areas beyond the military field.

"Burnt by the Digital Sun: How the Information Environment Is Testing the Mettle of Liberal Democracies"

Zhanna MALEKOS SMITH, CSIS Research Associate, Center for Strategic and International Studies, August 2020

(single source)

The use of false information to destabilize an opponent and gain the upper hand is not new. Hundreds of years ago, Sun Tzu observed that "all war is based on deception. In this CSIS report, Zhanna Malekos Smith analyzes how Western liberal democracies are dealing with information warfare while maintaining fundamental rights such as freedom of expression. To do so, the author compares the legislative arsenal for controlling the online content of « Five Eyes »France and Germany. The report then presents a detailed definition of the controversial concept of information warfare, whose contemporary issues are at the heart of the strategic rivalry between the West, Russia and China. Originating from the military domain, the use of the term information warfare refers to the manipulation of information in order to mislead an adversary or even to influence a decision-making process for strategic and political purposes. According to the author, for example, it is now proven that the 2016 American presidential elections have been subject to this type of process in order to allow the election of Donald Trump. Since 2016, DARPA has been developing software to detect fake news in order to protect the integrity of the next elections in 2020. This CSIS document aims to contribute to political reflection by presenting the main civil and military advances of the last few months, based on the notions of smart powerThe aim is to improve the quality of life, information sharing, resilience and education of societies, in order to greatly reduce the risks induced by the use of NICTs.

"Is Russian Meddling as Dangerous as We Think?"

Joshua YAFFA, Moscow correspondent for The New Yorker, The New Yorker, September 7, 2020.

(single source)

The New Yorker article, "Is Russian Meddling as Dangerous as We Think?" questions our approach to Russian disinformation operations. According to the author, by focusing on the study of enemy disinformation methods, we are neglecting the analysis of our structural weaknesses as a victim country and the limitations of the sender country. Indeed, Russian interference would not aim at convincing, but above all at creating confusion and mistrust towards the government and the democratic system. Thus, misinformation is based on the pre-existing fracturing of society which it tends to exacerbate and the media treatment of it has the effect of amplifying its reach. The author observes two distinct evolutions in Russian disinformation manoeuvres: one part of the propaganda has become more visible and without precise targeting, while the other has become more opaque. It is the former that is exposed in the Western press, sometimes without the disinformation sites in question having a real audience. Moreover, the distinction between domestic and foreign disinformation seems obsolete, so difficult is it to trace back to the source. Furthermore, a distinction must be made between intention and impact: the decisive factor is to be able to identify the change in behaviour produced by disinformation and the consequences it entails. In this sense the author concludes that the Kremlin's success in injecting or manipulating information remains of secondary importance in the face of internal disinformation in an open society.

"The British Army Should Seek to Retain an Armoured Capability"

Nick REYNOLDS, RUSI Researcher, Royal United Services Institute, September 7, 2020

(single source)

In the United Kingdom, the debate on the future of heavy armour has been revived since the British Army is considering a re-evaluation of its heavy segment. Indeed, an upgrade or replacement programme would generate significant costs and the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated already significant budgetary constraints. Thus, the author identifies three possible courses of action. The first would be to upgrade the entire existing division or purchase new tanks. This option is desirable but unlikely given the resources available. The second would be for the British army to abandon its heavy segment completely. This radical option is in line with the prospect of specialisation within NATO: as other members, such as the German Bundeswehr, would concentrate their efforts on heavy armour, the British Army would specialise in areas where it has competitive advantages such as aviation or cyber defence. For Reynolds, it would be a mistake to completely abandon the main battle tanks, as this loss of strategic autonomy would make the British Army highly dependent on NATO. The last solution would be to keep and modernise some of the tanks. For the author, maintaining an armoured division with a smaller reserve of heavy tanks appears to be a hypothetically viable balance between resource saving and operational power. Moreover, this intermediate position would allow the British Army to maintain an expertise and training capacity in armoured vehicles.

"1670 - 2020: the Invalids from yesterday to today".

Army Museum

(source cross-checking)

Since its creation, whose 350th anniversary we are celebrating, the Hôtel des Invalides has punctuated the great hours of French history. A monument to the Sun King's loyalty to his wounded soldiers, the one that Montesquieu called "the most respectable place in the world" resisted the popular vindictiveness that shook it in 1789. If the sans-culottes seized his rifles and cannons to march on the Bastille, they made the monarchical symbol the emblem of the victories of the young Republic and placed the enemy flags there like relics. After his coronation, Napoleon undertook to make it the burial place of the strategists he admired. It is on the strength of their teachings that he will attach eternal glory to his own name. However, more than a military necropolis, the Invalides became a place of national reconciliation when Louis-Philippe decided to transfer the ashes of the "Petit Caporal" to it in 1840. The heroes of the two Great Wars of the 20th century would follow. Converted into an army museum, the stones of the Invalides now belong to "all the children of France [...] on the condition that they love them", in the words of André Malraux.

"150 years ago, the War of 1870..."

Ministry of the Armed Forces,1 September 2020

(single source)

After Napoleon III declared war on Prussia, the Moselle was the scene of three bloody battles, including the one that took place on 18 August 1870 west of Metz, mobilising 140,000 French soldiers. This one known as the "Battle of Gravelotte" - marked the turning point of the war in favour of Prussia, and led France to surrender at Sedan on 2 September. Prior to this fatal turn of events, the Marine Infantry Regiments (RIMa) distinguished themselves by their bravery and tenacity during the Battle of Bazeilles on 31 August. This year, for its 150th anniversary, a Franco-German ceremony in honour of the combatants was presided over by Geneviève Darrieussecq, Minister Delegate to the Minister of the Armed Forces. Her study invites our modern armies to introspection, as it illustrates the difficulties that a counter-insurgency army can face in the face of the resurgence of high-intensity conflicts. Indeed, the army of the Second Empire was mainly composed of expeditionary forces and therefore little prepared for conventional conflict.

The Pathfinder is a subject-oriented watch for prospective studies on air-land operations, currently conducted by the Command Doctrine and Training Centre (CDEC).
This document is based solely on unclassified sources. Its purpose is to provide a quick bi-monthly overview of information disseminated in the media and likely to be of interest to the defence community. The briefs collected are limited to raw summaries of the documents analysed and cross-checked whenever possible by interviews conducted by its editors. It is therefore up to each reader to contextualise this information, particularly when it comes from official foreign sources, according to the use he or she wishes to make of it and the nature of the conclusions that he or she must draw from it.