The defence tour de France
Those of us in the defence industry are all too aware that this year’s big event, Eurosatory 2016, is just around the corner and as luck would have it GICAT organised a press tour ahead of the event for the industry’s journalists.
GICAT actually stands for Le Groupement des industries de défense et de sécurité terrestres et aéroterrestres. Quite the mouthful.
The French Army is in the midst of an ambitious plan to update or renew most of its equipment under project Scorpion.
During the tour we were treated to detailed explanations of the programme from General Bertrand Houitte and other personnel at the Nexter site in Versailles.
First deliveries of the new Jaguar multi-role vehicle are expected in 2018 with the programme itself seeing the army receiving new vehicles well into the 2020s.
For the future the French Army needs to secure €6 billion up until 2033 to continue the programme as it looks towards stage two.
To date Scorpion is on schedule in terms of testing but it is hard to be behind schedule when they are at such an early stage. Prototypes are currently in the making.
The new vehicles, Jaguar and Griffon, promise to provide new levels of protection, more autonomy as well as better networking with all the vehicles running off SICAS battle management system.
I could of course provide more detail, but that would be spoiling things. More news will be posted on the Shephard Media website.
The trip moved out of Paris and down to Bourges, somewhat in the middle-of-nowhere France, but it is where Direction générale de l’armement (DGA) Land Systems is based.
The DGA will play a large role in testing and qualifying elements of Scorpion and will be upgrading some of its simulation testing facilities specifically for the programme.
Then south to Montluçon where Sagem has its Château d’Argentières. While we were all giddily taking photographs (there was a point to the excursion) and Sagem demonstrated some of its systems including the JIM optical system and FELIN soldier system.
A night demonstration was provided and even after a few glasses of wine everything could be seen clearly through the JIM.
While France is one of Sagem’s main customers it was clear that at this year’s Eurosatory the company will demonstrate how it is also prepared to provide to the export market.
A mere three days has passed and Eurosatory is six weeks away but it promises to be as big an event as usual and French industry will no doubt be out in force.