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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

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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

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The Scout N°26

DECEMBER 2019

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The Scout N°25

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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

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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

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The Scout N°17

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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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Number 19 - 24 September 2019

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 fortnightly overview of the information disseminated in the media and likely to be of interest to the world of Defence. 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.





"Cruise missiles suspected in Saudi oil infrastructure attacks".

L'Orient-Le jour, NY Times, Courrier International, Jane's, September 15-19, 2019.

(cross-referenced sources)

At dawn on Saturday 14 September 2019, two oil sites of the Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Aramco) were the target of an alleged drone attack claimed by the Houthis rebels. The attack targeted the Abqaiq and Khurais sites in eastern Saudi Arabia, some 1,500 km from the Yemeni capital Sana'a, defying Saudi anti-aircraft defence systems (Hawk, Patriot, Shahine and THAAD). According to satellite images published by the US State Department, there are between 17 and 19 impact points. This attack resulted in the interruption of the production of 5.7 million barrels of crude oil, nearly 50% of Aramco's total production (9.7 million) and a surge in the price of Brent crude oil. On 14 May and 17 August, the Houthis rebels had already claimed responsibility for the attack using drones on two pumping stations in the vicinity of Riyadh and a liquefied natural gas installation in Chaybah. The 14 September attack may have been carried out using drones armed with explosives of the Samad 3 type, presented by the Houthis last July, or with UAV-X type drones of Chinese origin, with a range of 1,500 km, with which the Houthis rebels are said to be equipped, according to a UN report (01/2019). The Houthis also reportedly have Iranian KH-55 cruise missiles with a range of up to 2,500 km, which were used in the attack on Abha airport in June 2019. If the satellite images provided by the United States do not confirm the claim that Iran was behind the attack, the accuracy of the strikes could argue in favour of a combined UAV and cruise missile attack. On September 18, debris from delta-winged drones and "Ya-Ali" missiles were presented to the press as the weapons allegedly used in the attack, according to a spokesman for the Saudi Defense Ministry.

Availability: N/A



"UK set to increase defence spending"

Army Recognition, 2 September 2019

(source cross-checking)

On 4 September 2019, British Finance Secretary Sajid Javis announced an increase in the defence budget of £2.2 billion in 2020. To date, the British budget allocated to defence amounts to £38.8 billion (€43bn), or nearly 2.2% of British GDP.

For the record, the French defence budget for 2019 amounts to 1.82% of GDP.

Availability : N/A



"Troops of the future may ditch night-vision goggles in favor of eye injections."

Military, 3 September 2019

(source cross-checking)

According to the findings of two Chinese researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the China University of Science and Technology, nanoparticle injections would allow soldiers to see in total darkness, making night vision equipment unnecessary. Braden Allenby, a professor of engineering at Arizona State University, estimates that the effects of these injections would last up to 10 weeks with no expected health side effects.

Availability : N/A




"General Robotics improves its DOGO for Close-Quarters Combat"

Defense Update, September 4, 2019

(single source)

The American company General Robotics presented its new tactical robot DOGO Mk II at the DSEI 2019 exhibition held from 10 to 13 September. This 12kg robot is optimized to support police intervention units (SWAT) in closequarters combat in confined spaces (buildings and underground). It would have surveillance capabilities and lethal or non-lethal means (pepper spray or dazzling flash) with a range of 5 to 10 meters. The device would already have been delivered to special forces of NATO member states and would be on pre-order from numerous customers.

Availability : 2019



"MSPO 2019: Rheinmetall presents Mission Master UGV with Warmate loitering ammunition."

Jane's, September 4, 2019.

(source cross-checking)

On the occasion of the Polish MSPO 2019 exhibition, the German industrialist Rheinmetall and the Polish WB Group presented a new version of the 8x8 Mission Master Autonomous Land Vehicle (UGV) armed with 6 Warmate ammunitions. These so-called "loitering munitions" are similar to a single-use drone, capable of identifying and then neutralising a target by transforming into a missile. Operated remotely, from a ground station or a soldier-integrated system, they enable precision swarm strikes and beyond direct sight (BDSV) firing. With a flight autonomy of about 30 minutes and a range of 10 km, they are a serious alternative to anti-tank guided missiles.

Availability : N/A



"BAE Systems finalizes AR glasses prototype."

BAE Systems, September 5, 2019

(single source)

The British company BAE Systems has unveiled a prototype of augmented reality glasses for civilian and military users. These should allow colour vision, regardless of weather conditions. They would also offer a wider field of vision as well as a more stable vision, thanks to an image stabiliser. BAE Systems will be able to develop several versions to meet the size, weight and power requirements of potential customers, depending on the use of the product.

Availability : N/A



"IWI Introduces Multi-Caliber ARAD Assault Rifle."

IWI SK Group Member, September 5, 2019

(source cross-checking)

Israel Weapon Industries Ltd, a subsidiary of the SK Group, announced that it has developed a new multi-calibre assault rifle for special forces, capable of firing both 5.56mm and 7.62mm calibre ammunition. Equipped with a "picatinny" rail, it involves changing the barrel (11.5 or 14.5 inches) from one calibre to the other. This new rifle baptized ARAD should be presented at the time of the MiliPol 2019 show which will be held in Paris from November 19 to 22 next.

Availability : 2019



"MSPO 2019: Poland requests Javelin missiles and C-130H aircraft."

Jane's, September 6, 2019

(source cross-checking)

On the occasion of the MSPO 2019 Polish Armament Fair in Kielce in early September, Polish Minister of Defence Mariusz Blaszczak signed two Letters of Request (LoRs) with theUS Defense Security Cooperation Agency . The first concerns the purchase of 185 FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missiles with their logistic environment and related training systems. The second involves the acquisition of five C-130 Hercules transport aircraft to complement the fleet of five C-130s already in service.

Availability : N/A



"MSPO 2019: ZMT offers UKM-2000PE machine gun to Norway"

Jane's, September 6, 2019

(source cross-checking)

On the occasion of the MSPO 2019 arms fair, the Polish company Zaklady Mechaniczne Tarnow (ZMT) unveiled the improved version of its second generation of UKM-2000 PE machine guns. With a 7.62mm calibre for a 440 or 540mm barrel, this model intended for export was offered to the Norwegian army as part of the Light Weight Machine Gun tender. It is intended to replace the German-made MG3 machine guns currently in service with the Norwegian Army. ZMT is also producing the UKM-2000 C, a version with an electric trigger tail, which is expected to replace the MG3s on the Leopard 2 tanks in service with the Polish Army.

Availability : N/A



"U.S. Army is one step closer to fielding autonomous vehicles"

Defence Blog, 7 September 2019

(source cross-checking)

A new autonomous tactical heavy tactical vehicle is about to be integrated into theArmy's support structure. This Leader-follower vehicle would have the particularity of autonomously following other vehicles within a convoy or being the leader of one. It would make it possible to release mass and thus reduce the human risks associated with the transport of material.

Availability : January 2020



"Smart Helmet - Not Just for Iron Man"

IHLS, September 7, 2019

(source cross-checking)

The American company Hypergiant Industries has unveiled its new augmented reality helmet prototype, called "Project Orion". Equipped with night, infrared and thermal vision, this helmet would offer a field of view at 200 degrees (compared to 124 degrees for humans) and a visual resolution in 5K (5120 × 2880). In addition, it would be able to detect and classify shapes or objects, thus increasing the accuracy of information gathered in the field.

Availability : N/A



"BAE Systems gets $269 million contract modification for Bradley production."

Defence Blog, 9 September 2019

(single source)

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has announced a $268.9 million contract with BAE Systems to modify Bradley infantry vehicles by 2021. The new vehicles would feature sensor systems that would allow for better consideration of the tactical environment, as well as increased survivability through a reinforced chassis and urban combat kit.

Availability : March 2021



"China also developing "Unmanned Wingman" Drones"

IHLS, September 9, 2019

(source cross-checking)

Northwestern Polytechnical University , based in Xian, China, presented the prototype of the new LJ-1 attack drone at the MAKS 2019 air show in Russia. This drone should be capable of jamming enemy infrared sensors, radars and communications. With a length of 4.7 metres and a wingspan of 2.5 metres, it would have a flight autonomy of 60 minutes and a cruising speed of around 750 km/h. It would be able to withstand acceleration up to 9G for 30 seconds.

Availability : N/A



"Prepping to remove ammo from Transnistria to take up to 1 year, says Russian minister."

TASS, 11 September 2019

(single source)

Thousands of tonnes of Soviet ammunition are reportedly stored in warehouses in Transnistria, guarded by Russian military personnel, under the agreement concluded between Russia and Moldova on 21 July 1992. This stock would consist of an arsenal of aerial bombs and other military equipment, which has become dangerous because of its age. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Choigou recently announced his intention to renew the munitions recycling process, which the United States may join. Since 2004, this process had been blocked by the Moldovan Republic of Transnistria, following the escalation of tensions between the two sides of the Dniestr River.

Availability : N/A



"DSEI 2019: Swedish Army to receive first series production Mölnar self-propelled mortars."

Jane's, September 12, 2019.

(source cross-checking)

On 19 September, the Swedish Army received its first 4 Granatkastarpansarbandvagn 90 (Grkpbv 90), out of the 40 ordered at the end of 2016. Produced by the Swedish company Hägglunds, this infantry combat vehicle has the particularity of being armed with the AMOS (Advanced Mortar System) system, a 120mm twin-tube mortar. Designed jointly by Sweden and Finland, it is capable of perforating the armour of tanks from above thanks to an elevation angle of 85 degrees and a high rate of fire (16 to 26 rounds/minute). This system already equips the Finnish army's Patria armoured vehicles.

Availability : 2020



"Elbit Systems introduces Vehicular Anti-Drone Protection and Neutralization System."

Army Recognition, September 12, 2019

(source cross-checking)

Elbit Systems presented a vehicle version of the ReDrone Vehicular Tactical System for UAV neutralisation and protection. The system would provide any vehicle with 360-degree protection against enemy UAVs and would be operational both while moving and stationary, and would be rapidly deployable, operating either manually or automatically, without any operator configuration or control. Upon detection of a hostile UAV, it would neutralize all communications between the UAV and its operator (radio, video, GPS signals) and would be able to locate the origin of the remote control signal. This system would already be operational. No information concerning the range has been communicated as of yet.

Availability : Currently



"Czech Republic confirms defense spending rise"

Jane's, September 16, 2019

(source cross-checking)

The Czech Ministry of Finance has announced a 13% increase in the defence budget in 2020, which is about 340 million euros more than the 2019 budget. This increase should bring the 2020 defence budget to 2.9 billion euros, or 1.3% of GDP.

Availability : N/A



"Россия развернула С-400 в Арктике"

(Russia has deployed the S-400 in the Arctic)

Izvestia, 16 September 2019

(source cross-checking)

Russia has announced that it has deployed S-400 "Triumph" air defence systems on the Novaya Zemlya archipelago in the Arctic. These would replace the S-300 air defence systems used so far. The S-400s would significantly increase the area of controlled airspace in the Arctic from 200 to 400 km with a detection range of 600 km.

Availability: N/A



"Tsentr-2019 in Russia requires high level of military capacities and coordination among participants"

China Military and TASS, 17 September 2019

(source cross-checking)

The "Tsentr-2019" military exercise officially started in Russia on 16 September 2019. It would be a joint exercise with the participation of 128,000 Russian soldiers, Chinese soldiers (1,600 according to the Chinese government), Pakistanis, Indians, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Tajiks and Uzbeks. Nearly 600 fighters and 15 naval vessels, about 250 tanks and 450 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) would be mobilised according to the Russian Ministry of Defence. Officially, the objective of this exercise is to allow the training of coalition forces in the fight against international terrorist groups, in order to ensure the military security of strategic areas in Central Asia.

Availability: N/A



"U.S. Army research creates lightweight plastic armor."

Defence Blog, September 18, 2019

(source cross-checking)

Researchers at the American University of Buffalo have developed a new type of plastic armouring, inspired by the pearl oysters' manufacture of mother-of-pearl. Called Ultrahigh molecular weight polyetylene (UHMWPE), it is 14 times stronger than steel and 8 times lighter. UHMPWE has the advantage of being easy to shape, adaptable to all types of shapes and can be woven. This new material should make it possible to design vehicle armour, as well as lighter, more comfortable and above all more resistant individual protection.

Availability : N/A




"Florence Parly: "Arms control concerns all Europeans."

Le Monde, 7 September 2019

(source cross-checking)

Paris wishes to implement a "transparent dialogue" with Moscow on European security and the de-escalation of current tensions, said the Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly during an official visit to Moscow on 9 September, referring in particular to nuclear and conventional weapons, cyberspace or the space domain. At the same time, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian held talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, on the control of intermediate-range weapons, following the end of the INF Treaty. The latter would notably like the two powers to agree on a common response to international conflicts and crises.

Availability : N/A



"THALES will refurbish Finnish Leopard 2A6 tank simulators"

Shephard, September 11, 2019

(source cross-checking)

THALES announced that it has signed a contract with the Finnish Army to support the training of Leopard tank crews. According to the company, the Finnish forces should thus benefit from a modernised training system based on virtual simulation, combining the technical training of crews with tactical training. After equipping the British and Dutch armies with similar systems, this new contract confirms the French company's expertise in the field of simulation for land forces.

Availability : N/A



"13th Thematic Report of the High Commission for the Evaluation of the Military Condition."

Ministry of the Armed Forces, 10 September 2019

(single source)

The High Military Condition Evaluation Committee (HCECM) published its annual thematic report on "Death, injury, disease" in order to "inform the President of the Republic and Parliament on the situation and evolution of the military condition" by formulating recommendations. This report welcomed the Ministry's actions to support the injured and the families of the killed in the context of their mission, emphasizing that these people are not victims. The HCECM also highlighted the poor physical condition of the volunteers at the engagement since "between 23% and 28% of candidates are rejected for medical unfitness". However, the Army has already developed tools to reduce this rate, such as physical preparation modules for selection tests.

Availability : N/A




"AI, cyber, space, ecology: Florence Parly's strategy."

Ministry of the Armed Forces, 16 September 2019

(single source)

In a speech on the "Changing Face of War" delivered at the 2019 Defence Summer University, the Minister of the Armed Forces outlined the future challenges facing the Armed Forces. Faced with the changing nature of warfare and the multiplication of terrains (cyberspace, space, information), the Minister stressed the importance of investing in new technologies. She also recalled the need for a defence industry geared towards Europe and the energy transition.

Availability : N/A



"The Defense Factory, a European ambition for youth"

Ministry of the Armed Forces, 13 September 2019

(single source)

On the occasion of the 2019 Defence University, the Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, announced the creation of "an event aimed at young people which should contribute, on the one hand, to the strengthening of the Armed Forces-Nation link and, on the other hand, to the emergence of a common European strategic culture". This event, called "La Fabrique Défense", will take place for the first time on 17 and 18 January 2020 in Paris, before moving on to the regions and then to other European states. It should bring together French and European defence stakeholders (institutional partners, associations, universities, think-tanks, companies, etc.). This project will be piloted by the Ministry's Department of International Relations and Strategy (DGRIS), with the support of the Strategic Research Institute of the École Militaire (IRSEM).

Availability : January 2020




"Asia has three possible futures

Foreign Policy, August 21, 2019

(single source)

The fate of Asia will be determined by the balance of power between the United States and China and the reaction of other Asian countries, according to Stephen M. Walt, a professor of international relations at Harvard University. Thus, if China's power continues to grow while that of the United States declines, the United States would be forced to leave the Asian continent, allowing China to establish its zone of influence there. Conversely, if China's power decreases, the United States would regain ground and would be in an ideal position to lead a defensive coalition. The author suggests that if this were the case, the United States would have to act cautiously in order not to impoverish China, which would alarm US allies in Asia and increase the risk of war. Nevertheless, the author considers that it is more likely that the United States and China will continue to grow, without China overtaking the United States. The world would then find itself in a situation of bipolarity or unbalanced multipolarity in which the United States and China would be far ahead of the other major powers.

Availability : N/A



"The strategy of foreign companies in Europe"

Hélène Masson and Kévin Martin, Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique, September 2019

(single source)

The Foundation for Strategic Research (FRS) has published a comparative study of 19 defence companies present on the European market, in order to highlight the different entry strategies deployed by foreign manufacturers. While historically Americans and Israelis were the most active on the European market, in recent years new partners have arrived (Brazil, South Korea, Singapore, etc.). This diversification of suppliers is partly explained by the evolution of the acquisition strategies and practices of European states. More than mere commercial agreements, military equipment acquisitions are part of political, military or industrial partnerships. Faced with the lack of consensus on European defence policy or a common procurement strategy, European manufacturers are increasingly contesting their commercial position on the internal market. This situation offers major opportunities for foreign manufacturers.

Availability : N/A



"Fear the drones: Remotely piloted systems and Non-state actors in Syria and Iraq."

Guillaume Lasconjarias and Hassan Maged, IRSEM, September 2019

(single source)

The proliferation of remotely operated systems, of which UAVs are one of the most visible manifestations, poses many security challenges for Western militaries. Their integration into the arsenals of non-state armed groups is a threat to be taken into account that goes beyond the mere technological dimension. This study focuses on the case of Syria and Iraq, highlighting the way in which Hezbollah or Daesh have used these systems for tactical, operational and even strategic purposes (in their propaganda, for example). The example of this ongoing conflict underlines the extent to which the interventions carried out by Western armies since the end of the cold war (technological and air superiority) are now being undermined, which calls for a rethink of our training, doctrine and equipment.

Availability : N/A



"Coming soon to a Battlefield: Robots that can kill."

Defence One, September 7, 2019

(single source)

While the majority of American officers remain sceptical, not to say reluctant, to the idea of delegating the power to kill to autonomous machines, the Pentagon seems to want to prepare the army for battlefield robotisation. Thus, fearing being overtaken by China or Russia, the United States would have embarked on a "Technological Cold War", in the words of General David Petraeus, not hesitating to consider changing the current doctrine advocating keeping a man intheloop.

Availability : N/A



75 years of the Liberation of Paris at the Invalides: History and continuity of the Franco-American strategic and military alliance".

Hôtel National des Invalides, 13 September 2019

On September 13, 2019, as part of the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Paris, the CDEC took part in a colloquium devoted to the "Franco-American strategic and military alliance", organized by the American foundation The first Alliance and the Army Museum. Opened by the Secretary of State to the Minister of the Armed Forces, Mrs. Geneviève Darrieusecq, this colloquium was an opportunity to discuss the "Franco-American strategic and military alliance", organized by the American foundation The First Alliance and the Army Museum.ewas to bring together French and American experts (academics, diplomats, military) around two round tables. The first, on the Battle of Paris, offered a The first one shed a singular historical and tactical light on this event marking the end of the war, while the second, on the future of the Franco-American alliance, provided an opportunity to reflect on the complementary nature of the strategic assessment of our two countries. While all the speakers were pleased with the success of the Franco-American strategic relationship over the past 250 years, many of them stressed the need to consolidate it by pursuing a joint reflection on major issues, such as the use of new technologies or the return of high intensity.



 


 
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