Tag Archives: Thales

French Griffon

Nexter, Thales and Arquus, as part of the temporary grouping of companies (GME) EBMR (Engins Blindés Multi-Rôles), presented the 128th GRIFFON planned for 2020 to the French Delegation for Armaments (DGA). Under the terms of the SCORPION program, and despite an unprecedented health crisis that profoundly affected production, the three manufacturers were able to take the challenge and meet their contractual objectives.

Griffon
Nexter, Thales et Arquus succeed in presenting the 128 Griffons planned for 2020

After this step, the last GRIFFONs will have to be submitted to the verification operations carried out by the DGA’s quality department. The vehicles will then be transported to the Canjuers site where the Army will proceed to take them into account; it is then that the DGA will formally receive them. To date, 90 GRIFFON have completed this route, adding to the 92 GRIFFON delivered in 2019. From January 2021, the last vehicles that left the production line in December will join them in the regiments, catching up very early in 2021 with the delay due to the health crisis.

From March 2020, Covid-19 has indeed strongly disrupted the industrial organization of the program. The site of Roanne, where the GRIFFON and JAGUAR are assembled, was forced to suspend its activity from March 20 to 30 in order to allow the installation of a structure adapted to the resumption of the activity under maximum safety conditions. Since then, two teams have been working on the lines in shifts of eight consecutive hours (2×8) to ensure that the lines are operational during these 16-hour days. Closely linked to their government contacts and after consulting their suppliers, the members of the GME quickly reviewed the initial schedule: the 2020 objectives were maintained for GRIFFON; the first deliveries of JAGUAR were postponed to April 2021; and this, while preserving the number of deliveries at the end of 2021.

The year 2020 was marked by the passage of several major milestones for the GME. In September, the DGA notified the third conditional tranche of the EBMR contract, enabling the second batch of vehicles (271 GRIFFON and 42 JAGUAR by 2023) to go into production. In November, the GRIFFON command post vehicle (EPC) was qualified. Thus, among the 128 GRIFFONs of 2020, 35 examples of this new variant were presented to the administration, an additional difficulty that the EPC teams overcame. Finally, the new-generation T1 remotely operated turret that will arm the GRIFFONs was also qualified by the DGA.

Nexter, Arquus and Thales would like to pay tribute to the exceptional commitment of their teams. Their sense of duty and creativity have enabled them to meet the expectations of the French Army and its combatants as best they could, while greatly limiting the impact of the health crisis.

Ultra-Compact Radar

The AirMaster C is the latest airborne surveillance radar from Thales and has a 30% lower SWaP (Size, Weight and Power) than the other radars in its class.

AirMaster C
Thales Launches AirMaster C Ultra-Compact Airborne Surveillance Radar

The AirMaster C covers the full spectrum of land, air and maritime surveillance missions and offers state-of-the-art target detection capabilities; it is the subject of preliminary integration studies on joint light helicopter (Guépard) which are in progress.

Users benefit from innovative technologies, with a unique 2D AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) antenna based on SiGe (Silicon-Germanium) technology, and cognitive and predictive maintenance capabilities drawing on Thales’s and the French Armament General Directorate’s investments in artificial intelligence.

Threat detection, identification and surveillance missions depend on a force’s ability to operate in any type of environment and all weather conditions. Drawing on its experience with the successful Master series of radars, Thales has developed a new, ultra-compact surveillance radar with enhanced target detection capabilities for fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). With its low integration and operating costs and high availability and performance, the AirMaster C sets a new standard for airborne radars.

The nature of armed confrontation is constantly evolving. From the intrastate conflicts of the post-Cold War period to the asymmetric threats of the early 21st century and, more recently, the resurgence of rivalries between major powers, armed forces around the world must constantly adapt as they face different types of adversaries in a diverse array of environments: open ocean, coastal areas, remote deserts and urban spaces.

Responding to these rapid changes, Thales has developed the AirMaster C, a new surveillance radar with an ultra-compact, programmable 2D active antenna based on SiGe (silicon-germanium) technology. SiGe is much more energy efficient than other technologies used for AESA radars, and allows the radar to self-cool. Weighing less than 20 kilograms/44 lbs. and housed in a single unit design, the radar has a 30% lower SWaP (size, weight and power) than the other radars in this class.

In addition to this breakthrough SiGe technology, other innovations are deployed. Multi-polarisation (a capability displayed by many cameras) will allow the radar to automatically select the optimal settings to maximise detection performance on each mission. The radar also offers a simultaneous short-range and long-range detection capability, similar to the human eye, for instantaneous surveillance. With its 2D navigation and weather modes, the AirMaster C will also provide valuable navigation support in all types of environments and weather conditions.

The AirMaster C is a smart software-defined radar designed to reduce aircrew workload. With its autonomous sensors, self-learning functionality and the ability to analyse and classify huge volumes of data, the radar can automatically adapt to different uses, terrains and environments. The AirMaster C builds on the innovative design and proven success of the Master series.

Notified by the French Armament General Directorate (DGA), preparatory studies are being carried out by Thales in collaboration with Airbus Helicopters for the integration of the AirMaster C on board the Guépard helicopter. This is the future light joint army helicopter, which will have to carry out a wide variety of missions for the three French armies.

AirMaster C, the lastest Airborne Surveillance Radar – Thales

SCORPION program

Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces, welcomes the order by the General Directorate of Armaments (DGA) for 271 Griffon armored vehicles and 42 Jaguar armored vehicles, awarded on September 15, 2020 to Nexter, Arquus and Thales as part of the SCORPION program.

Jaguar
France’s latest order for armored vehicles of its SCORPION army modernisation program includes 42 Jaguar combat vehicles (DGA photo)

The 2019-2025 Military Programming Law (LPM) provides for both an increase in the numbers of the SCORPION program and an acceleration of deliveries. The target in 2030 was thus raised to 1,872 Griffon and 300 Jaguar vehicles, half of which (respectively 936 and 150) will be delivered by 2025. In addition to schools and training centers, 5 regiments will have begun to receive the Griffon by the end of 2020, and 9 regiments at the end of 2021.

The arrival of the first Griffons allows the Army to truly enter the SCORPION era, with a platform that benefits from significant advances in terms of protection, mobility and the ability to gradually integrate the info-enhanced collaborative combat (intelligence sharing, acceleration of the decision-making loop). The objective therefore remains to be able to deploy an initial Griffon combined arms battle group on foreign operation by the end of 2021.

This order contributes to irrigate the entire French Industrial and Technological Defense Base (BITD) for ground equipment. The three prime contractors will in fact pass on the orders to their subcontractors and suppliers within a few days. It is estimated that the Griffon and Jaguar programs support nearly 2,000 direct, highly qualified jobs.

After an initial order in 2017 for 319 Griffons and 20 Jaguars, the DGA today awarded to the companies Nexter Systems, Arquus and Thales, a second phase vehicle production contract, as part of the SCORPION program, which is intended to modernize the combat capabilities of the French Army. The 271 Griffons and 42 Jaguars ordered on September 15, 2020 will be delivered to the forces between 2022 and 2023.

The Griffon is a Multi-Role Armored Vehicle (VBMR) intended to replace Front-line Armored Vehicles (VAB). Weighing around 25 tonnes, it is equipped with a 6-wheel drive and a remotely operated cupola. It comes in several versions: troop transport, command post, artillery observation and medical evacuation.

Weighing around 25 tonnes, Jaguar is an Armored Reconnaissance and Combat Vehicle (EBRC) with 6-wheel drive. It is intended to replace the AMX10RC and Sagaie wheeled light tanks, as well as the VAB variant armed with HOT anti-tank missiles. It will be equipped with the 40-mm telescoped ammunition gun produced in Franco-British cooperation, the medium range missile (MMP) and a remotely operated cupola.

In addition to Nexter Systems, Thales and Arquus, the program also involves Safran for the optronics and armament of the Jaguar, CTA International for its 40-mm gun and MBDA for its MMPs.

The SCORPION program renews the capabilities of contact combat around two armored vehicles Griffon and Jaguar and a single Information and Communication System (SICS) which allows the networking of all players in land combat. It also integrates the acquisition of light multi-role armored vehicles Serval, the modernization of the Leclerc tank and the acquisition of modern combat training systems using simulation and virtual reality.

Multirole Missile

Leonardo and Thales are proud to announce the first successful firings of the Thales ‘Martlet’ Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM) from Leonardo’s AW159 Wildcat helicopter. The firings were conducted as part of the UK MoD’s Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (FASGW) programme and demonstrated the integration of the Martlet onto the AW159 platform. This represents a major milestone for the programme and will enable this high-end capability to enter service with the Royal Navy later this year.

The Royal Navy’s AW159 Wildcat will pack a lot of firepower, as it is able to carry up to 20 Thales Martlet lightweight missiles primarily intended to defend against attacking small boats, as well as two Sea Venom anti-ship missiles for offensive missions (Royal Navy photo)

The firing trials were conducted from 27th April to 21st May 2020 and despite the current COVID-19 situation, Leonardo and Thales were able to support the UK Ministry of Defence by completing this critical activity. All of the teams involved had to adopt strict distancing procedures, in some cases having to find new ways of working, in order to make sure that the trials could go ahead. It is a testimony to the professionalism of those involved that these trials were successfully completed under such challenging and novel circumstances.

«This major milestone demonstrates that the combination of the AW159 Wildcat and Martlet missile will be a flexible and effective tool for the Royal Navy. Next year the Wildcat fleet will embark on Carrier Strike Group missions with HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) on its maiden operational deployment. As the only British company to design and manufacture helicopters on-shore, we’re extremely proud to be equipping the UK Armed Forces with world-beating sovereign capabilities», said Nick Whitney, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters (UK).

«The successful live firings of the Thales LMM Martlet from the AW159 Wildcat is a key milestone in the programme, delivering a significant step-change in capability for the platform. LMM Martlet will ensure that the Wildcat has the best-in-class offensive capability to protect HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) and her task group during her maiden operational deployment next year. With each platform capable of carrying up to 20 Martlet, the Wildcats deployed with the task group will be a significant deterrent to anyone wishing to interfere with UK interests», said Philip McBride, General Manager, Integrated Airspace-protection Systems, Thales UK.

In July 2014, Leonardo signed a contract with the UK Ministry of Defence to integrate, test and install the MBDA Sea Venom (heavy) and Thales LMM (light) missile systems onto Royal Navy AW159 Wildcat helicopters, a programme called Future Anti Surface Guided Weapon (FASGW).

The FASGW (light) part of the programme has now seen the LMM, with its associated launcher and airborne laser guidance unit, successfully integrated into the Leonardo AW159 Wildcat sensor, displays and avionics systems. The LMM provides a step-change in capability for the Royal Navy which, in the maritime environment, faces a major challenge in engaging smaller, fast-moving, asymmetric threats, due to their high mobility, their small thermal and radar signatures and the severe background clutter encountered. The LMM is capable of surmounting these issues where traditional electro-optic and radar guidance systems do not provide the certainty of hit required.

On-board the AW159 Wildcat platform, the LMM Martlet could also allow operators to engage air targets such as UAVs and other maritime helicopters.

The launchers are mounted to the AW159 via the new Leonardo Weapon Wing, developed at the Company’s design and manufacturing facility in Yeovil and first trialed last year. Each weapon wing will be able to carry either ten Martlet or two Sea Venom missiles and generates additional lift for the helicopter in forward flight, reducing demands on the main rotor.

The twin-engine multi-role AW159 is able to conduct missions ranging from constabulary to high end warfighting where it has the capability to autonomously detect, identify and attack targets on land and at sea, including submarine threats. The high-performance platform has state-of-the-art systems, including a Leonardo Seaspray multi-mode electronically-scanning (E-scan) radar, and integrated electronic warfare Defensive Aids Suite (DAS).

Over 50,000 flight hours have been logged by the helicopter. The AW159 has also been chosen by the British Army, the Republic of Korea Navy and the Philippine Navy as a new maritime operator of the helicopter.

Demonstrator phase

The governments of France and Germany have awarded Dassault Aviation, Airbus, together with their partners MTU Aero Engines, Safran, MBDA and Thales, the initial framework contract (Phase 1A), which launches the demonstrator phase for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS).

Demonstrator phase launched: Future Combat Air System takes major step forward

This framework contract covers a first period of 18 months and initiates work on developing the demonstrators and maturing cutting-edge technologies, with the ambition to begin flight tests as soon as 2026.

Since early 2019, the industrial partners have been working on the future architecture as part of the programme’s so called Joint Concept Study. Now, the FCAS programme enters into another decisive phase with the launch of the demonstrator phase.

This phase will, in a first step, focus on the main technological challenges per domains:

  • Next Generation Fighter (NGF), with Dassault Aviation as prime contractor and Airbus as main partner, to be the core element of Future Combat Air System;
  • Unmanned systems Remote Carrier (RC) with Airbus as prime contractor and MBDA as main partner;
  • Combat Cloud (CC) with Airbus as prime contractor and Thales as main partner;
  • Engine with Safran and MTU as main partner.

A Simulation Environment will be jointly developed between the involved companies to ensure the consistency between demonstrators.

The launch of the Demonstrator Phase underlines the political confidence and determination of the FCAS partner nations and the associated industry to move forward and cooperate in a fair and balanced manner. The increased momentum enables industry to deploy the necessary resources and best capabilities to develop this decisive European defence project. FCAS will be the cornerstone project guaranteeing Europe’s future operational, industrial and technological sovereignty.

The next important step in the FCAS programme will be the onboarding of Spain and the involvement of additional suppliers from Phase 1B onwards, which will succeed Phase 1A after its successful conclusion.

Combat Ship MKS 180

The German government has announced its intention to select Damen as the main contractor, together with partners Blohm + Voss and Thales, for supplying at least four Multi-Purpose Combat Ship MKS 180 frigates to the German Navy. The Dutch naval shipbuilder is extremely proud of, and satisfied with, the result of the evaluation process announced on 14 January 2020 by the German Government, though of course awaits parliamentary approval in Germany.

German Navy selects Damen and Blohm + Voss for construction Multi-Purpose Combat Ship MKS 180 frigates

The ships will be built at Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg and at other shipyard locations of the North German Lürssen Group. Damen intends to build in this way in order to spend around 80% of the total net investment as added value in Germany. The same applies to the electronic application systems that are supplied by Thales Nederland to its own design. Around 70% of the services will be provided by the German subsidiary of Thales and by other German subcontractors.

With the North German shipyard group Lürssen – parent company of Blohm + Voss – and the Damen Shipyards Group, the partnership is based on two stable family businesses that have been successfully active in marine and commercial shipbuilding for more than 140 years.

The only naval builder in the Netherlands is pleased with this selection to be main contractor in the German project and the division of work between German and Dutch industry. For the Netherlands, it provides national knowledge and expertise. This offers the Dutch Government the option, in the coming Dutch naval construction projects for frigates and submarines, to have these types of strategic programmes devised, engineered, managed and deployed in their own country.

The MKS 180 project contributes to securing the export power and self-creation of both Dutch and German naval construction in the longer term. The project also opens perspectives for the requested European (defence equipment) cooperation.

 

Characteristics

Length approximately 508.5 feet/155 meters at waterline
Displacement maximum 9,000 tonnes
Accommodation 110-person crew, 70 passengers
Operating endurance 24 months
Operating area worldwide
Ice class 1C/E1 for sea areas with ice formation
Service life 30 years

 

Intelligence program

On 30 December 2019 the French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA) ordered the Archange airborne strategic intelligence program, comprising three Dassault Aviation Falcon 8X aircraft equipped with the Thales new-generation payload CUGE (universal electronic warfare capability). A contract has been awarded for the first two aircraft.

The Falcon 8X Archange to serve the French Air Force

Dassault Aviation and the dozens of French companies associated with the Falcon programs wish to thank the Ministry of the Armed Forces, the DGA and the French Air Force for their confidence.

The required level of performance of the Archange Falcons necessitates highly complex integration work, something that is at the core of Dassault Aviation and Thales know-how.

«I am very proud and happy with the decision of the Ministry of the Armed Forces. The Archange Falcon will serve the French forces in the same way as the Falcons 10, 200, 50, 2000, 900 and 7X are already doing it», declared Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation. «The special mission Falcons provide the perfect illustration of the dual competences of Dassault Aviation: our civil aircraft benefit from the cutting-edge technologies developed for our combat aircraft, which in return benefit from the industrial processes deployed for the highly competitive production of the Falcon aircraft».

The tri-jet Falcon 8X is the latest addition to the Falcon range. The business jet version can carry 8 passengers and 3 crew members over a distance of 6,450 NM/7,456 miles/12,000 km. It has digital flight controls which stem directly from Dassault Aviation’s experience acquired with the Mirage 2000 and Rafale. It is equipped with enhanced avionics system (EASY) digital flight deck and the totally unrivalled FalconEye combined vision system (CVS).

Exported to more than 90 countries, the Falcon aircraft are flexible and economic to fly. Their handling qualities, aerodynamics and versatility render them capable of fulfilling missions that go beyond civil aviation standards. They are designed by the design office that also develops the Rafale and nEUROn combat aircraft. Over the last 50 years, Dassault Aviation has customized many Falcons for purposes such as medical evacuation, cargo transport, maritime surveillance, electronic warfare, etc. These multirole aircraft represent about 10% of the Falcon fleet in service across the world.

Guided Weapon

Thales recently conducted firing trials at Royal Artillery Air Defence Range at Manorbier as part of the Integration testing phase of the Future Anti Surface Guided Weapon (Light) (FASGW(L)) programme.

Procured under the Future Anti Surface Guided Weapon (Light), the Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM) developed by Thales will arm the Royal Navy’s AW-159 Wildcat helicopter with up to four five-round launchers, giving it considerable anti-ship firepower

The FASGW(L) programme includes testing of all parts of the weapon system including the Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM), the launcher system and all key equipment of the Wildcat helicopter.

The LMM, which the Royal Navy will call Martlet when it enters service in 2020, will provide an enhanced level of protection for both service personnel in the Royal Navy and vital assets at sea, such as the Queen Elisabeth Carrier.

The trials consisted of six LMMs being fired from the Thales-designed launcher system at a small boat target at sea at a distance of 4.5kms. All missiles were test rounds with no warhead, but were fitted with telemetry software enabling data to be gathered to analyse the launcher, the guidance system and missile performance.

The FASGW(L) system accurately guided all missiles to the targets and provided extensive data on the excellent performance of all elements of the ground set-up and inflight performance of the missile.

The successful achievement of the ground firings is a major milestone and key to progressing to future testing including air firing trials later in 2019 and culminating in qualification and verification in 2020.

When it enters service in 2020 LMM will give the Wildcat increased protection capability able to address highly mobile maritime threats such as weaponised speed boats and jet skis.

Thales would like to thank the MOD, The Royal Navy, Leonardo and all Thales personnel in achieving this important milestone.

Thales video of the LMM ground firing trials in March from the same launcher and with the same sensor ball that will be used to fire it from Royal Navy Wildcat helicopters

Laser guided rockets

The successful capability enhancement for the H145M continues. In the first weeks of December 2017, Airbus Helicopters demonstrated the ability to fire laser guided rockets (FZ275 LGR from Thales) with its new H145M platform at the Älvdalen test range of the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration Flight test Centre. In a rough and challenging environment the system performed flawlessly.

H145M successfully launched 70mm Laser Guided Rockets during its firing campaign in Sweden
H145M successfully launched 70mm Laser Guided Rockets during its firing campaign in Sweden

The electro-optical system (MX-15D) from L3 Wescam with embedded laser designation enabled a deviation of less than a meter for all rockets fired at a distance of up to 4.5 km/2.8 miles. This 70-mm/2.75-inch laser guided air-ground rocket enhances the H145M’s engagement capabilities. It fulfils the precision strike needs of the armed forces worldwide by reducing the risk of collateral damage, particularly during asymmetric combat operations.

«The laser guided rockets from Thales performed incredibly well especially taking into consideration the weather conditions we experienced during the trials which were far from ideal with a lot of moisture in the air», said Raymond Laporte, test pilot at Airbus Helicopters.

Following the success of the ballistic firing tests, held in Hungary in October 2017, the achievement of this new milestone with laser guided rockets is in continuity of Airbus Helicopters’ HForce development strategy to boost the H145M mission capability.

Final qualification of the ballistic HForce system on the H145M is scheduled for end of this year, while the laser-guided rockets is planned for end 2019.

 

Characteristics

DIMENSIONS
Length (rotor rotating) 44.72 feet/13.63 m
Fuselage length 38.35 feet/11.69 m
Height 13.12 feet/4 m
Main rotor diameter 36.09 feet/11 m
Width (blades folded) 8.89 feet/2.71 m
CAPABILITIES
Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) 8,157 lbs/3,700 kg
Useful Load 3,900 lbs/1,769 kg
Sling load 3,307 lbs/1,500 kg
Maximum seating 1/2 pilots + 10/9 troops
ENGINE
2 × Turbomeca ARRIEL 2E turboshaft engines
Maximum Continuous Power (MCP) 2×771 shp/2×575 kW
Take-Off Power (TOP) 2×894 shp/2×667 kW
2 min One Engine Inoperative (OEI) 1×1,038 shp/1×775 kW
30 sec OEI-power 1×1,072 shp/1×800 kW
PERFORMANCE AT MTOW
Speed (Vne – never exceed speed) 135 knots/155 mph/250 km/h
Fast Cruise speed (Vh – maximum speed) 132 knots/152 mph/244 km/h
Maximum range 357 NM/411 miles/662 km
Hover ceiling OGE (TOP), ISA 8,858 feet/2,700 m

 

Griffon and Jaguar

According to Defense-aerospace.com, in line with the development of the Jaguar and Griffon vehicles ordered in December 2014, the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) on April 21 awarded Nexter Systems, Renault Trucks Defense and Thales a contract for the first 319 Griffon and the first 20 Jaguar armored vehicles, as part of the Scorpion program for the renewal of the combat capabilities of the Army. This order also includes logistics and training support systems.

A prototype of the Jaguar 6×6 wheeled armored vehicle, armed with a 40-mm gun and anti-tank missiles, which will replace the French army’s wheeled light tanks (FR army photo)
A prototype of the Jaguar 6×6 wheeled armored vehicle, armed with a 40-mm gun and anti-tank missiles, which will replace the French army’s wheeled light tanks (FR army photo)

In accordance with Jean-Yves Le Drian’s decision to modernize the armored component of the ground forces, the Military Programme Law provides for the delivery of the first Griffon in 2018 and of the first Jaguar in 2020. During the development phase, the workload of the Griffon-Jaguar projects supports nearly a thousand highly-skilled direct jobs. This will increase to more than 1,700 direct jobs during full production, starting in 2020.

Scorpion will renew the army’s first-line combat capabilities around two new armored vehicles, Griffon and Jaguar, and a unique information and communication system, SICS, which will allow the networking of all players in land combat. Scorpion also integrates the acquisition of light armored multi-role vehicles, the upgrade of the Leclerc tank and modern combat training systems using simulation and virtual reality.

Griffon is a multi-role armored vehicle (véhicule blindé multi-rôles, or VBMR) designed to replace the Véhicules de l’Avant Blindé (VAB). It is a 6×6 armored vehicle weighing approximately 25 tonnes and equipped with a remotely-controlled weapons station. It will be available in several versions (troop transport, command post, artillery spotter and medical evacuation).

Jaguar is a 6×6 armored reconnaissance and combat vehicle (engin blindé de reconnaissance et de combat, or EBRC) weighing about 25 tonnes intended to replace the AMX10RC and Sagaie wheeled light tanks as well as the VAB variant armed with HOT missiles (designated Mephisto). It will be equipped with the 40-mm automatic cannon with cased telescopic ammunition jointly developed by France and the UK, the MMP medium-range missile and a remotely-controlled weapon station.

In addition to Nexter Systems, Thales and Renault Trucks Defense, the program also involves Safran for optronics and, for the Jaguar’s weapons fit, CTA International for the 40-mm gun and MBDA for the MMP medium range missile.

The second of the French army’s new armored vehicles, the Griffon, is a 6×6 armored personnel carrier intended to replace the VABs now in service (FR army image)
The second of the French army’s new armored vehicles, the Griffon, is a 6×6 armored personnel carrier intended to replace the VABs now in service (FR army image)