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The Pathfinder N°33

NOVEMBER 2020

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L'Eclaireur N°32

NOVEMBER 2020

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L'Eclaireur N°31

SEPTEMBER 2020

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The Scout N°30

SEPTEMBER 2020

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L'Eclaireur N°29

JUNE 2020

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The Scout N°28

MARCH 2020

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L'Eclaireur N°27

FEBRUARY 2020

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The Scout N°26

DECEMBER 2019

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The Scout N°25

DECEMBER 2019

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L'Eclaireur N°24

DECEMBER 2019

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The Scout N°23

NOVEMBER 2019

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The Scout N°22

NOVEMBER 2019

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The Scout N°21

OCTOBER 2019

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The Scout N°20

OCTOBER 2019

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The Scout N°19

SEPTEMBER 2019

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The Scout N°18

SEPTEMBER 2019

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The Scout N°17

SEPTEMBER 2019

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The Scout N°16

JULY 2019

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The Scout N°15

JUNE 2019

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The Scout N°14

JUNE 2019

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"Future Vertical Lift: Army Announces Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft Prototype Award."

US Army News and Information, US Army future commands, April 23, 2019

(source cross-checking)

On 23 April, theUS Army awarded five new contracts for prototypes of itsFuture Attack ReconnaissanceAircraft ( FARA). The five manufacturers selected are AVX Aircraft Co. in partnership with L-3 Communications Integrated Systems L.P., Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. Boeing, Karem Aircraft, Inc. and Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. The model being replaced is the OH-58D Kiowa Warriors. While some of its missions are being taken over by Apache AH-64s, the U.S. Army has chosen a more sustainable solution to fill this capability gap. The prototypes should be based on counter-rotating rotors (allowing the economy of the anti-torque tail rotor), or even, on the model of the V22 Osprey, tiltrotors. Tilting and changing orientation, these rotors make it possible to couple the vertical ascent of a helicopter to the speed and payload of an aircraft. Joseph Gionta, Executive Director of theUS Army's Contract Command, welcomed the mechanisms of the Other Transaction Authority(OTA) legal procedure set up by Congress, allowing greater responsiveness of the players in the procurement procedures for specific equipment. This purchase is part of the process of physical and organic modernisation of the land forces initiated by theUS Army Futures Command(AFC).

Availability : N/A


"Russia has exported $2.5 billion of military equipment to Indonesia since 1992."

Army recognition, 28 April 2019

(single source)

According to a spokesman for the Russian state arms export agency Rosoboronexport, Russia has exported more than $2.5 billion worth of military equipment to Indonesia since 1992. The spokesman pointed out that Russian-Indonesian military cooperation dates back to 1958 and had intensified since the years 1990-2000. In recent years, Jakarta had imported an increasing amount of Russian military equipment, including BTR-80A armoured personnel carriers and Kalashnikov AK-100 assault rifles. In April 2019, the Indonesian Ministry of Defence also signed a contract with Rosoboronexport for the acquisition of a batch of BMP-3F infantry fighting vehicles and BT-3F amphibious armoured personnel carriers produced by the Russian industrialist Kurganmashzavod . By way of comparison, France exported approximately 9 billion euros of armaments in 2018.

Availability : N/A


"Research and development for Russia's S-500 system nears completion."

TASS, 24 April 2019

(single source)

In Scout No. 11 of April 29, a brief was devoted to the announcement of the "forthcoming" availability of the Russian S-350 and S-500 anti-aircraft and anti-ballistic defence systems. This week, the TASS press agency relayed the details provided by the Defence Minister of the Russian Federation, Sergei Shoigu. He is quoted as saying that deliveries of S-500s to the Russian armed forces will begin in 2020. Their development is currently in the process of being completed. According to Denis Manturov, the Minister of Trade and Industry, the first series production would be initiated soon. The agency points out that the Aerospace Force Academy in Tver (north-west of Moscow) has been training S-500 operators since 2017.

Availability : 2020


"Army works slim down powerful new laser defense system"

Richard Sisk, Military,1 May 2019

(single source)

TheUS Army wants to develop a new 100-kilowatt laser air defense system. The system imagined by theUS Army should be capable of intercepting missiles, drones or shells. It should also be lighter than existing systems in order to be deployed rapidly. Currently, such systems are mounted on heavy six-wheeled trucks, which makes their deployment difficult. TheUS Army is also considering the creation of a prototype laser system that is less powerful (50 kilowatts) and therefore more compatible with Stryker-type infantry combat vehicles. Such a system would provide tactical units with anti-aircraft defence means adapted to each theatre of operation. TheUS Army plans to carry out tests as early as 2022. The selection process for the production of the laser, currently underway, will pit Team Dynetics (Lockheed-Martin, Dynetics) against Raytheon.

Availability : tests in 2022


"DARPA preparing to test fly two hypersonic weapons"

Ashley Roque, Jane's Defence Weekly, May 3, 2019

(single source)

DARPA will be stealing hypersonic weapons at the end of the year. According to the agency's director, DARPA is working on two types of hypersonic projects. The first, the Tactical Boost Glide (TBG), would be a rocket launched from the air. It could reach an altitude of 60,000 metres. The second project, Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) would be a hypersonic cruise missile, also launched from an airborne vector. In addition, DARPA would collaborate with theUS Army on the development of a TBG ground launcher. However, the researchers have not spelled out all the characteristics of these new weapons. Their development is an international trend. Only a few countries would have access to such technology, notably Russia and China. The latter has announced that it has tested a glider with a range of up to Mach 10 and a glider with a 2,000 km range. France is also planning to acquire an identical weapon, with tests scheduled to begin in 2021.

Availability : 1 year (first test)


"SIGMA +"

Dr Vincent Tang, DARPA, May 2019

(single source)

US DARPA is testing the latest generation of sensors to detect chemical threats through its new SIGMA+ initiative. This initiative is a continuation of the SIGMA program, which began in 2014 and is now operational, and whose objective is to detect radiological and nuclear threats at the scale of a city. The SIGMA+ initiative would extend the capabilities of the SIGMA programme to the entire CBRN spectrum. In April 2018, DARPA teams partnered with the Indianapolis Police Department and the Marion County Department of Health to deploy the network at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (DARPA's partner racetrack).

Availability : N/A


"U.S. Army unveils unmanned NBCRV concept vehicle."

Defence Blog, 3 May 2019

(single source)

The Joint Modernization Command of theUS Army presented a new land-based NuclearBiological Chemical ReconnaissanceVehicle ( NBCRV). The objective of this unmanned vehicle is to enable the detection of NBC threats on the battlefield, while protecting combatants from the risk of contamination. Remotely operated up to a distance of 1.5 km, the vehicle, equipped with multiple sensors, could integrate the Stryker Brigade Combat Team(SBCT). The time required to incorporate these vehicles has not been specified.

Availability : N/A


"IDEF 2019: Turkish-made electromagnetic railgun unveiled by Yeteknology"

Army Recognition, 4 May 2019

(single source)

The Turkish company Yeteknology presented during IDEF 2019 in Turkey (30 April - 3 May 2019) its electromagnetically propelled electric gun SAHI 209. The first version of this gun, with a 300-gram ammunition and powered by 1 megajoule, would have a range of 10 km. The second version, powered by 10 megajoules and 1500 grams ammunition, would have a range of 50 km. The shell fired could reach MACH 6. Nevertheless, very few characteristics were revealed. The development of this gun is part of an international trend. The United States and China would develop a naval version of such a gun. France and Germany are also working together to equip themselves with such a weapon.

Availability: immediate


"Russian Military Application of Face Recognition Tech"

iHLS, May 5, 2019

(source cross-checking)

According to the iHLS article, the Russian company Rostec is reportedly providing the Russian Federation's armed forces with a facial recognition solution called FindFace. The system is said to have been developed by two subsidiaries of the group: Rosoboronexport and NtechLab. The article is based in particular on statements by CEOs Alexander Mikheyev(Rosoboronexport) and Alexander Minin(Ntechlab). FindFace would be used to control access of individuals to restricted areas and would operate with a network of surveillance cameras automatically recording faces. This system would have a biometric recognition time of 0.3 seconds and an accuracy of 99%. The article does not mention whether the system would be autonomous in deciding whether or not to grant or deny access. As a counterpoint, the article mentions a facial recognition technology that would be developed in the United States by the company Stereovisionic. It takes the form of binocular binoculars connected to a laptop computer, containing a biometric database. The operator could identify an individual with the binoculars up to a distance of 200 metres. The manufacturer specifies that this equipment is autonomous: connection to an external network would not be necessary for its operation. The binoculars were initially developed to helpUS Navy fighters identify persons of interest. This portable American technology is currently in pre-production.

Availability: N/A


"Interview with Jean-Louis de Bougrenet de la Tocnaye."

CDEC, May 9, 2019

(single source)

A PEP research officer met with Professor Jean-Louis de Bougrenet de la Tocnaye, head of the optics department of the ITM Atlantic. In partnership with the École des Mines de Saint-Étienne, the ITM recently announced the realization of the first autonomous contact lens integrating a flexible micro-battery. This scleral lens, which goes beyond the iris, differs from traditional contact lenses. Wider and more stable, it allows electronic implants to be received while leaving the pupil available. For the first time in the world, researchers have succeeded in integrating a micro-battery - which guarantees its autonomy - and an oculometer, which enables it to measure eye movements. The use of such a device could be coupled with virtual and augmented reality. The device is placed directly on the eye and allows a better precision of the eye measurement. This connected lens integrates complex functions, both optical and transmissive, which are attracting interest from the medical and defence fields. The circuit should be tested at the end of the year. The Directorate General for Armament (DGA), with which the ITM is already collaborating on several programmes, would like to create a partnership with researchers to make the lens operational. This stand-alone connected lens could be an asset for infantry or helicopter pilots thanks to its decision support. It could also integrate the sophisticated equipment of the infantryman of the future who will increasingly rely on augmented reality.

Availability: 5 years


"EFGs: EFGs include a PMO WG for the first time"

Ministry of the Armed Forces, 26 April 2019

(source cross-checking)

French elements in Gabon (EFG) hosted for the first time an Operational Military Partnership Battle Group (OMPBG) at Camp de Gaulle in Libreville on Monday, 15 April. Organised in four homogeneous and independent detachments, reinforced by a detachment of experts, the PMO BG will be engaged in the Central African Republic. Stationed in Bouar and Bangui, it will participate in the reconstruction of the Central African Armed Forces (FACA), in partnership with EUTM-RCA. For this first projection, the PMO WG is armed, for four months, by the 501st Battle Tank Regiment (RCC) and the 16th Battalion of Foot Fighters (BCP). Composed of 158 soldiers, this detachment temporarily reinforces the capacities of the operational cooperation pole (POC) in Libreville and will be integrated into the operational cooperation group (GCO/6th Marine Infantry Brigade). It thus responds to the increased demand for military partnership in Central Africa.

Availability : N/A


"The DGA creates Lahitolle, the land innovation cluster"

Ministry of the Armed Forces, 26 April 2019

(single source)

On 25 April, the Directorate General for Armament (DGA) signed an agreement with the Bourges Plus conurbation community, thus inaugurating Lahitolle, an innovation cluster in the land sector. Referring to France's first 95 mm steel cannon, this cluster is the fourth adopted by the DGA since the end of 2018 and will make it possible to "put in place the conditions for cooperation between DGA Land Techniques and the Defence Industry Resource Centre (CID) ". From energetic materials to robotics and the fight against improvised explosive devices, this cluster will work in various fields and will seek to identify useful opportunities for land-based weapons programmes, in collaboration with the Defence Innovation Agency (AID). Other clusters had already been implemented, in the field of CBRN defence in Essonne and in the naval sector, in Toulon and Brest.

Availability : immediate


General Lecointre: "The French must be proud of their soldiers"

Le Figaro, 27 April 2019

(source cross-checking)

Invited to the Strategic Talk " du Figaro, Army General François Lecointre, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces (CEMA), presented his vision of the "military singularity" and outlined the strategic priorities of the Armed Forces for the period 2019-2021. General Lecointre welcomed a "strong political commitment" in favour of the armed forces, praising in particular the special attention paid by the Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly to the living conditions of military personnel and their families, "a great sacrifice of the previous Military Planning Laws (MPL)". The CEMA expressed its pride in the French Army, "second in the Western world", which has mastered all fields of military action. It also stressed the need for armies to "reaffirm the singularity of their functioning and organisation" in order to better adapt to new areas of conflict, particularly the cyber world. General Lecointre also referred to the operations underway, saying that Operation Barkhane had enabled the Malian armed forces to become increasingly autonomous and that they would probably be able to act alone in "one or two years". Finally, he recalled that "the victory over the territorial caliphate" in the framework of Operation Chammal "does not mean that the war has been won", as the enemy is extremely polymorphous and continues to carry out clandestine actions in the Levant, likely to have repercussions in Europe and Asia.

Availability : N/A


"BARKHANE: Setting up a tethered balloon on Gossi's BOAT."

Ministry of the Armed Forces, 26 April 2019

(single source)

As part of Operation Barkhane, French forces have begun construction of a new operational base near Gossi, south-west of Gao. Within this base, the 11th Marine Artillery Regiment is currently implementing a tethered balloon to observe the environment surrounding the base. With a diameter of 4 metres and an altitude of up to 100 metres, the balloon is equipped with a high-definition camera with an infra-red system for surveillance using a laser pointer. Equipped with an optronic ball and a "Viper" box for data transmission to a computer, this device can be mounted in less than twenty minutes, ensures optimal surveillance of the surroundings, day and night, and thus helps protect deployed soldiers.

Availability : immediate


"The booming innovation sector."

Futura science, May 5, 2019

(single source)

According to the Clarivate Analytics agency ranking, France will be the third most innovative country in the world in 2017, behind the United States and Japan. Ten of the top 100 most innovative companies are French. This good result can also be explained by a strong investment in public research, filing nearly 30% of patents. According to Futura Science's editorial staff, there are five major markets in France: the drone market, artificial intelligence, innovations in the field of medicine and green technologies and finally in e-sport. All these innovations are not reserved for the civilian field, the Ministry of the Armed Forces is also a major player in innovation. Indeed, according to the LPM 2019-2025 and from 2022 onwards, one billion euros will be devoted each year to technological studies and innovation.

Availability : N/A


"Acquisition of 48 POLARIS MV 850 quad bikes by the 2nd Hussar Regiment."

CDEC, May 9, 2019

(single source)

The2nd regiment of hussars will soon acquire 48 units of the quad POLARIS MV850. Deliveries of the equipment will be spread out between 2019 and 2022. 12 vehicles will be allocated to each squadron. The MV 850 offers significant investigation capabilities to a human search detachment (DETREHUM) on particular phases of specialized reconnaissance. It is therefore a one-off use adapted to a certain type of mission. The equipment will be better adapted to the constraints of the terrain, alone or in support of the main vector. However, it is a double allocation for Deep Search Patrols, the regiment will therefore keep the use of its old equipment.

Availability : 2019-2022


"Did Russia Just Concede a Need to Regulate Military AI?"

Samuel Bendett, Defense One, April 25, 2019.

(single source)

On Friday 25 April, Nikolai Patrushev, Russian Secretary to the Russian Security Council, spoke of the need to develop international regulation to prevent the use of certain new technologies that threaten international security: "Modern technology makes it possible to develop instruments of attack thanks to artificial intelligence, genetics and synthetic biological agents, which are often as deadly as weapons of mass destruction". While Moscow's position remains constant on this subject, admitting that humans must remain in control and accepting the principle of discussions on limitations on use, this is the first time that international regulation of their development has been publicly evoked.

Availability : N/A


"Removing The Soldier From The Battlefield."

Jimmy Samuel, Wavell Room, March 19, 2019.

(single source)

The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) would consider promoting communication between combatants in contact and specialists in the rear, using augmented reality. In this regard, the Augmented Reality Forward Surgical Care (ARFSC) program "Telestration Team is currently in the testing phase. Its purpose would be to provide emergency medical care in degraded environments, or where surgeons' availability is limited. Through a link between two shelves, an expert would be able to give precise (digitized) instructions remotely to deployed medical personnel. In addition to medical personnel, remote connectivity solutions could also provide effective real-time support to deployed mechanics and engineers. However, the increasing use of this type of technology raises questions about its management. Indeed, the relative novelty of augmented reality technology requires support for personnel in their handling and raises questions for experts accredited in its use. The use of this technology would therefore make it possible to limit the exposure of civilian personnel while at the same time contributing to a logic of reducing the costs inherent in their commitment in theatres of operation. In a climate marked by austerity policies, the British Ministry of Defence is placing great hopes in these technologies.

Availability : N/A


"World military expenditure grows to $1.8 trillion in 2018."

SIPRI, April 29, 2019

(source cross-checking)

The Swedish think tank SIPRI published on 29 April its annual report on world military spending. The report shows massive global rearmament, with total military spending of 1822 billion dollars. France is in fifth place in the ranking with 63.8 billion dollars according to SIPRI, behind the United States (649 billion), China (250 billion), Saudi Arabia (67.6 billion), and India (66.5 billion); but ahead of Russia (61.4 billion). However, the figures in the ranking must be analysed carefully, due to significant methodological biases. Indeed, not all countries, and a fortiori not all think tanks, account for their military expenditure in the same way. Thus, France's military expenditure, recorded at 57.16 billion euros by SIPRI, does not correspond to NATO figures (53.12 billion in constant dollars and 51.6 in current dollars in 2018), nor to the figures in the budget of the Ministry of the Armed Forces (45.1 billion euros or 50.34 billion dollars). The thinktank's figures tank include not only military pensions (as well as the Ministry of the Armed Forces) but also the expenses of the national gendarmerie, since it is, according to Aude Fleurant of SIPRI, "a military force". Another limitation of the ranking was pointed out by Challenges: the ranking does not take into account the military purchasing power of the different countries (which leads to underestimating the military weight of Moscow, as military equipment is less expensive there).

Availability : N/A



"Valerie Andre: an exceptional woman"

Ministry of the Armed Forces, 10 April 2019

In an article dated 10 April, the Armed Forces Health Service reviewed the exceptional destiny of Valérie André, the first French woman to be raised to the rank of general. Born on 21 April 1922 in Strasbourg, Valérie André was fascinated by the world of aviation from her childhood. As a teenager, she took flying lessons in the flying club of her home town. She graduated in medicine in 1947, obtained her parachute licence in 1948 and became a pilot and military doctor. In 1948, she joined Indochina as a military doctor with the rank of captain. She was soon encouraged to take courses in war surgery and to serve in the border area between Indochina and Laos, which could only be reached by parachute. She returned to France in 1950 to obtain her helicopter pilot's licence, and then returned to Indochina to specialise in the helicopter medical evacuation service, which she then wanted to develop in operations. From 1959 to 1963, she served in Algeria as medical deputy commander, then as commander of the stationed rescue service helicopter. Raised to the rank of Brigadier General on 21 April 1976, she was the third woman to receive the dignity of Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour.


May 8, 1945 Commemoration Ceremonies

May 8, 2019

The commemoration of the Armistice of 8 May 1945 is an opportunity for the CDEC to highlight two technological advances made by France on the eve of and during the Second World War. On the one hand, the design of the Somua S-35 tank and, on the other hand, the research of French atomic scientists on the other side of the Atlantic. The French Somua S-35 tank (L5.38m/l2.12m), called by the French Army "self-propelled combat machine" (S-35), is the first of its kind in the world. (AMC) model 1935 Somua, is considered one of the best of the time. The prototype presented by the Schneider subsidiary in Saint Ouen during the 1930s was directly approved for order. But due to low productivity in the French armament industry, only 400 units were produced before the German invasion of 1940. About half of them were engaged in combat as soon as they left the factory. Compared to other tanks already in service at that time, the Somua had innovative features. Indeed, the body and turret components were made of cast iron, whereas most contemporary vehicles were made of riveted sheet metal. In addition, all Somua equipment was equipped with a radio. The Second World War was also a decisive period for the development of the French atomic weapon. In May 1939, three patents were filed by four French researchers, members of Professor Joliot's team at the Collège de France. In July 1939, experiments relating to the release of energy by chain reaction began in the laboratory of the Parisian institution. However, the debacle and the German invasion in May 1940 forced the continuation of the work. The laboratory moved from Paris to Clermont-Ferrand at the beginning of June. Some members of the scientific team went into exile in the United States and delivered French secrets to the Allies, thus contributing to their success. Although not directly involved in the American nuclear programme, the French cooperate with an Anglo-Canadian team. This work in exile ensured the continuity of French research before and after the war.

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