Tag Archives: Thales

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)

French Spy’Ranger

Thales’s latest-generation Spy’Ranger mini surveillance and reconnaissance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) has been chosen by the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) to equip the French forces. Up to 70 mini-UAV reconnaissance systems (SMDR) will be made available from 2018. Each system consists of three mini-UAVs, a ground segment and the associated technical support.

Spy’Ranger is a latest-generation mini-UAS with the only EO/IR imaging system in the world capable of transmitting high-definition electro-optical and infrared imagery in real time
Spy’Ranger is a latest-generation mini-UAS with the only EO/IR imaging system in the world capable of transmitting high-definition electro-optical and infrared imagery in real time

Key Points:

  • Starting in 2018, Thales will provide French forces up to 210 mini reconnaissance UAVs;
  • The Spy’Ranger is the new «eye in the sky» for the combined arms tactical group, able to be operated in a standalone mode or connected to a Command, Control, Computers, Communications and Intelligence (C4I) system;
  • The Spy’Ranger is specifically tailored to the needs of the armed forces, as well as to those of essential operators.

The Armed forces require real-time access to ever more reliable imagery. Spy’Ranger will provide them with a decisive tactical advantage by offering the capacity to observe day or night, for long periods of time and at a distance of up to 30 km. Spy’Ranger is used in particular to carry out the following missions: provide support to a combined arms tactical group maneuver or to an offensive reconnaissance mission; provide a cover mechanism, support the neutralization of strong points and contribute to firing maneuvers by providing a «remote airborne eye» able to adjust shooting rounds on a target.

Developed by Thales in cooperation with French SMEs Aviation Design and Merio in under 13 months, Spy’Ranger will offer French Forces a number of innovations that provide real capability gains. Spy’Ranger will therefore markedly contribute to the gathering of frontline intelligence and to the protection of forces in operation.

Designed to operate in extreme, non-permissive environments, this new-generation system gathers and transmits accurate, operational beyond-line-of-sight image intelligence for joint battlegroup and brigade-level units
Designed to operate in extreme, non-permissive environments, this new-generation system gathers and transmits accurate, operational beyond-line-of-sight image intelligence for joint battlegroup and brigade-level units

The Spy’Ranger, developed by Thales in collaboration with several French SMEs, is a mini-UAV designed and manufactured in France. Spy’Ranger packs state-of-the-art technologies that provide much better performance:

  • Transportable in a backpack, Spy’Ranger can perform observation missions over a period of 2 hours 30 minutes, covering a range of 18.64 miles/30 km: a much larger surveillance area than those covered by systems currently in service;
  • Its gyrostabilized multi-sensor optronic payload has the highest resolution in the world for this range of platform, facilitating the positive identification of zones or objects over which it has flown;
  • Its tactical data link, protected to the highest standard, offers high speeds allowing the transmission of a high-definition image streams;
  • Its command and control software (C2) provides an effective user interface;
  • A mobile and digital support management system, based on Thales’s Smartfleet solution, that enables efficient execution and piloting of the Through Life Support’s.

Fully adapted to frontline air-land intelligence missions in battlefields in hostile environments (climate, electromagnetic, physical, etc.), the Spy’Ranger has been designed to optimize life cycle costs.

Thales Spy’Ranger: Mini-UAV system for reconnaissance roles

Aster New Technology

The French Ministry of Defence has launched the Aster Block 1 NT (New Technology) programme aimed at modernising the Surface-to-Air Missile Platform/Terrain (SAMP/T) ground based air defence system as well as its associated Aster missile. The contract was notified by the French DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement) to the EUROSAM consortium involving MBDA and Thales on 23rd December 2015.

Aster 30 SAMP/T firing at PISQ (Italian test center)
Aster 30 SAMP/T firing at PISQ (Italian test center)

This contract provides for the development of a new version of the Aster 30 Block 1 missile, referred to as Aster B1 NT with first deliveries to the French Air Force being expected in 2023. It also covers the modernization of the current SAMP/T system to provide enhanced capabilities particularly against ballistic missiles. These evolutions will enable SAMP/T to further enhance its contribution towards NATO’s anti-ballistic missile defence programme.

In the next few months, France should be joined also by Italy whose ground based air defence units are similarly equipped with the SAMP/T system.

For quite some time, the UK, Italy and France have shared a successful cooperation covering ground and naval air defence systems based on the Aster missile. This cooperation was reaffirmed by the signing of an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) by the three nations on 11th December 2015.

France’s Aster programme is led by the DGA with the support of OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’Armement), the European intergovernmental organisation for joint armament cooperation.