French Armed Forces

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France helicopter crash: Five killed as two army aircraft collide
02.02.2018

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The Gazelle helicopters that crashed are deployed in French military operations in Mali (file pic)


Two army helicopters have collided in southern France, killing five people on board, officials say.

The crash happened near Carcès lake in Var area, about 50km (30 miles) north-west of St Tropez.

Rescuers at the thickly wooded crash site recovered five bodies. It is not clear what caused the collision.

Both Gazelle helicopters belonged to a military flying school called Ealat, officials said. It trains pilots for the army and other military services.
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"The helicopters collided. There were three army personnel in one and two in the other. All are dead," police said, adding that one body had still to be recovered at the scene.

The Ealat website says the flying school at Cannet des Maures has 82 aircraft and trains French, German and Spanish helicopter pilots.

The five-seater Gazelle has been in service with the French military since the 1970s and is used by the French forces in Mali, in their anti-terror mission.

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Rescuers at the crash site - a thickly wooded area

Gazelles are also flown by the British Army Air Corps and were used in the 1982 Falklands War.

They were also used by other forces in the conflicts in Lebanon, the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

A French army Gazelle crashed into a power line at Caylus in 2003, killing four people.

A similar crash near Draguignan in 1994 killed three people, broadcaster France Info says.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-42915358
 

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French deal with Nexter, Texelis to provide ‘operational superiority’
By: Pierre Tran  
30 minutes ago
13.02.2018


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French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly, center, flanked by Col. Francois Mariotti, left, visits a battalion on Oct. 6, 2017, in Bitche, eastern France. (Jean-Christophe Verhaegen/AFP via Getty Images)

PARIS — The French armed forces minister announced Monday a contract award for Nexter and Texelis for the development, production and service of a Light VBMR troop carrier, with more than 2,000 armored vehicles to be built by 2030.

“The contract awarded by the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) includes development, manufacture and maintenance of this new vehicle for the Army,” the Armed Forces Ministry said in a statement. The 2019-2025 military budget law forecasts a fleet of more than 2,000 Light VBMRs by 2030, of which 689 are to be delivered by 2025.

Florence Parly had announced the result of a closely watched tender on her visit to the Nexter factory at Roanne, central France.

That contract for Nexter and Texelis was estimated to be worth some €1.2-1.3 billion (U.S. $1.5-1.6 billion), according to a defense executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Nexter will supply the armored chassis, while Texelis will ship axles and drive trains for mobility packages.


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An artist's rendering of the Light VBMR. (Nexter)

There will be separate contracts for Thales and Renault Trucks Defense. Thales will supply the Antares opto-electronic system for situational awareness, while RTD will provide remote weapon systems with machine guns, the executive said. That will be government-furnished equipment shipped to Nexter for fitting into the vehicles.

The total value of the Light VBMR program could be some €2 billion, the executive said.

Modernization ‘turning point’
The 15-ton, four-wheel drive vehicle will carry 10 soldiers equipped with the Felin infantry kit, the ministry said. There will be four main versions: patrol; intelligence and reconnaissance; tactical communications post; and electronic warfare.

First delivery of the patrol version is due in four years, the ministry said. The vehicles will also be equipped with the Scorpion Combat Information System (a part of the Scorpion program) information and communication system, which plugs them into an overall network. There will also be ambulance versions in the order.

The vehicles will be “fully French-made” and boost jobs in the Roanne region and the engineering offices, Nexter said in a statement. The Light VBMR will be built at the Roanne plant alongside the Griffon multirole troop carrier and Jaguar combat and reconnaissance vehicle.

“The signature of this notification marks a turning point in the modernization of the land forces and will contribute directly to the preservation of their operational superiority in all places and situations” the ministry said.

“With this contract, Nexter is reinforcing its presence within the Scorpion program and strengthening its position as the reference player in the field of land armament,” said Stéphane Mayer, Nexter’s chairman and CEO.

“The decision of the DGA and the partnership with Nexter strengthens and confirms our strategy to be specialists in wheeled armored vehicle and public transport mobility,” said Charles-Antoine de Barbuat, the CEO of Texelis.

The Light VBMR will partly replace the aging fleet of VAB troop carriers, which have been further used in the Barkhane mission in the African Sahel region.

https://www.defensenews.com/land/2018/02/12/french-deal-with-nexter-texelis-to-provide-operational-superiority/
 

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French shipbuilder to move in on German rival’s territory in Italian sub buy
By: Pierre Tran and Tom Kington  
24.02.2018

PARIS and ROME — The French shipbuilder Naval Group plans make an informal pitch to Italy, seeking to persuade the country to switch to its Scorpene attack submarine from the U212A boat made by German rival ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, a source close to the project has told Defense News.

Naval Group is expected to make a “proposition” of two Scorpene boats, the source said.

Italy has already taken delivery of four U212A submarines, built by Italian shipyard Fincantieri under license from TKMS.

The Italian Navy plans to sail a fleet of six subs, and Italian Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti said on Feb. 3 the funds to purchase two more would be included in Italy’s 2018 defense budget.

The total cost of the two subs would be €1 billion (U.S. $1.2 billion), she said.

Italy’s March 4 general election may serve as a key factor in persuading Rome to buy Scorpenes instead of the U212A. A change of government is seen as opening an opportunity for Naval Group to compete with TKMS.

“Nothing is certain,” the source said.

Spokesmen for Fincantieri and Naval Group declined to comment.

French executives saw an Italian order for two more U212A boats as unhelpful considering Naval Group and Fincantieri are in detailed negotiations for industrial cooperation. A Franco-Italian agreement is expected in June.

One of the planned cooperation moves includes Naval Group adopting the Italian design for a fleet auxiliary tanker and adapting the vessels to meet French Navy requirements.

“The pathways for cooperation are being explored with Italy on the auxiliary tanker of the logistic fleet,” according to the annex to the French 2019-2025 military budget law. The first two ships are due for delivery in 2025, with the fleet to rise to four from the present three ships.

The twin-hull fleet tankers would be based on the Italian logistics-support ship A5335 Vulcano and would be built in France at Saint-Nazaire, northern France.

Other areas for cooperation include research and development, export offers, and equipment orders.
Italy launched the €1.1 billion procurement of the first pair of U-212As in 1998, and the €944 million buy of the second pair started in 2008.

https://www.defensenews.com/industry/2018/02/23/french-shipbuilder-to-move-in-on-german-rivals-territory-in-italian-sub-buy/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DFN DNR 2.23.18&utm_term=Editorial - Daily News Roundup
 

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French Army eyes robots, change in force size as it prepares for future wars
By: Christina Mackenzie  19.04.2019

French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly, center, flanked by Col. Francois Mariotti, left, visits a battalion Oct. 6, 2017, in Bitche, eastern France. (Jean-Christophe Verhaegen/AFP via Getty Images)

PARIS — Innovation and a sufficiently populated Army that can fulfill the service’s strategic needs are key factors in whether France will be prepared for a high-intensity conflict, the military’s strategic thinkers said at a forum held April 16 in Paris.

“Mass,” or the capacity to generate and maintain an ample number of soldiers, is one of eight factors of operational superiority identified by the French Army, according to a speaker at a seminar on how the service will fight in future high-intensity wars. The event was held under Chatham House rules, which means the speaker can not be identified for this story.

A smaller ground force of 77,000 — compared to 220,000 or so in 1996 when conscription was mandatory — could be supported by robots, but French officials insist there will always be a man in the loop.

A senior officer outright rejected the idea of “autonomous killer robots.” He added that future conflicts will likely take place in urban areas and would result in “ferocious attrition of men and materiel,” both of which would be “hyper-connected and thus hyper-powerful."

However, that would also serve as "their major weakness,” he added, as enemy disruption of IT systems would prove crippling. He identified redundancies as one solution to both materiel attrition and IT issues.

Another suggestion that came out of the event aimed at ensuring operational superiority by numbers involved delegating most noncombat tasks to civilians. That could enable military personnel to concentrate on combat missions.

However, Army personnel attending the seminar argued strongly against employing mercenaries or private security companies in combat roles. Instead they suggested strategic partnerships with privileged partners such as the U.S. and the U.K., or alliances such as NATO.

French Army eyes robots, change in force size as it prepares for future wars
 

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Pictures: Naval Group Launched ‘Alsace’ the 1st FREMM DA for the French Navy
Naval Group launched the multi-missions FREMM frigate Alsace on 18 April 2019. It is the first of two air-defence frigates known as FREMM DA (Frégate Européenne Multimissions de Défense Aérienne).

Xavier Vavasseur 19 Apr 2019

The FREMM DA Alsace was launched from the construction form of the Naval Group shipyard of Lorient thirteen months after its keel laying. It is the ninth FREMM frigate built by Naval Group and the seventh one for the French Navy.

“We kept the architecture of the first FREMM designed by Naval Group but the FREMM DA versatility will be increased by enhanced capacities in terms of anti-air warfare. These modifications particularly concern the combat system.”

Pierre-Jean Cuisinier, FREMM DA program director

While the FREMM DA retains the same anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities as earlier vessels of the Aquitaine-class (with CAPTAS-4 and UMS 4110 CL sonars), its so called “increased capabilities in air defense” consists in a few notable changes:

The main mast of Alsace. It is skinnier in order to reduce the “blind spot” for the multifunction radar and to improve its detection performance.

  • The Thales Herakles multi-function radar is more powerful , has more transmitter modules, additional wave-forms and search modes for long range air defense
  • A Thales STIR EO MK 2 fire control radar replaces the Najir by Sagem (providing better AAW and ASuW capabilities to the 76mm main gun)
  • Reinforced bridge structure to accommodate the extra weight of the above
  • 4x Sylver A50 vertical launch systems for a total of 32x MBDA Aster 15 or 30 surface to air missiles
  • Additional communication systems and antennas
  • 3x additional consoles in the CIC (the global arrangement inside the CIC has been modified accordingly)
  • Modifications to the SETIS combat management system
  • Additional berthing



In addition to their top of the line ASW capabilities, the FREMM DA Alsace will be tasked with area air defence of major Marine Nationale units such as the Charles de Gaulle aircraft-carrier and the three Mistral-class LHDs, within a carrier-strike group or amphibious group.


The FREMM DA program started in 2008. Naval Group its partners are set to deliver the two FREMM DA frigates Alsace and Lorraine, respectively in the first half of 2021 and the second half of 2022.

To date, seven FREMM have been delivered between 2012 and 2018. The Aquitaine in 2012, the Provence in 2015, the Languedoc in 2016, the Auvergne in April 2017 and the Bretagne in July 2018. On the international side, Morocco received the Mohammed VI in 2014 and Egypt the Tahya Misr in 2015. The Normandie, last FREMM in the ASW variant, will be delivered this summer in line with the contractual planning.



After the delivery of the last FREMM, Lorraine, Naval Group will transition to the FDI, the next generation of frigates for the French Navy.



Technical characteristics of the FREMM DA
According to Naval Group, the FREMM DA Alsace is a strongly armed surface combatant fitted with the most performant weapon systems and equipment such as: the Herakles multifunction radar, the Aster 15 and 30 surface to air missiles, the Excocet MM 40 anti-ship missiles or the MU 90 torpedo. The performance of its combat system are reinforced with increased radar and communication capacities, a new fire control radar, and a SETIS CMS fitted with specific anti-air defense functions.
  • Overall length: 142 m
  • Bearn: 20 m
  • Displacement: 6,000 tonnes
  • Max. speed: 27 knots
  • Complement: 119 (+ 14 for the helicopter crew)
  • Accommodation: 165 men and women
  • Range: 6,000 at 15 knots


The FREMM DA Alsace following its launch in Lorient. It will now continue its fitting out activies before builder sea trials and a delivery to OCCAR in early 2021.

 

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French air force receives first ‘tactical’ A400M transport plane
By: Christina Mackenzie
01.May.2019


French soldiers stand next to an Airbus A400M on the tarmac at the air force base 101 Toulouse-Francazal, in Toulouse, southern France, on Jan. 17, 2019, before the French president's visit to deliver his 2019 New Year's wishes to the military forces. (Photo by Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images)

PARIS – The French air force has taken delivery of its 15th A400M Atlas military transport aircraft, the first directly outfitted to the “tactical standard,” including an expanded ability to land and take off from unprepared terrain and the capacity to make landing approaches under automatic pilot in all weather.

Three previously delivered aircraft have been upgraded to this new standard. Two new capabilities will be added in the fall: the ejection of heavy loads up to 16 tons from the rear ramp, and refueling by the central point.
The 11 other Atlas aircraft currently in the French inventory will be upgraded to this tactical standard by 2020.
Refueling from a central point will be by means of a Hose Drum Unit (HDU) stored in the hold when not in use. Combat aircraft are already refueled via the wing pods on the Atlas, a capacity available on all 15 of the French A400Ms. Another refueling system will be put into place to refuel helicopters but a DGA French procurement agency official told Defense News that is “for later.”

Also “for later” will be the capacity to parachute more than 30 paratroopers per door and per dispatch. The military’s requirement is that 116 paratroopers jump out of the aircraft in one dispatch. But for the moment this is impossible because of an issue with the so-called D-Bags, which hold the paratroopers chutes on their backs. This bag is opened automatically by a static line connected to an anchor cable and to the paratroopers. As they step out of the aircraft door the static line pulls taut, removing the D-Bag from the parachute and allowing it to open very quickly. The D-Bag remains attached to the static line and flaps alongside the outside of the aircraft. As more paratroopers jump out, the volume of discarded D-Bags increases, presenting a hazard to those waiting to jump.

Manufacturer Airbus has been looking at a way to make the paratroopers step out onto the outer edge of the aircraft frame before jumping. This would take them a sufficient distance from the flapping bags to neutralize the risk of D-Bag interference. It could also help resolve the issue of simultaneous dispatch, which is where parachutists exit the aircraft from both sides at the same time. Currently the danger is that they could get too close together after dispatch, risking collision.

France’s 2019-2025 military programming law provides for the delivery of another 10 A400Ms during the period, for a total of 25 aircraft in service by the end of 2025.



French air force receives first ‘tactical’ A400M transport plane
 

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Airbus unveils new multi-role combat helicopter developed for French military
During a visit to Airbus Helicopters' headquarters, French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly revealed the full-scale mock-up of the H160M, which will be presented at next month's Paris Air Show.
AuthorJamie Whitney
May 29th, 2019

MARGNANE, France - During a visit to Airbus Helicopters' headquarters, French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly revealed the full-scale mock-up of the H160M, which will be presented at next month's Paris Air Show.

The H160M, dubbed "Guepard" (Cheetah in French), is a modular platform intended to play numerous roles in the French military, including anti-ship warfare, air intercept, and commando infiltration across the nation's army, navy, and air forces.

The program is a part of France's Joint Light Helicopter (HIL) effort. The Airbus H160 was selected in 2017 and was initially scheduled to launch in 2022 with delivery of the first units to take place in 2026.

“We are proud that the HIL is considered a strategic program. I would like to thank the Ministry, the French Defence Procurement Agency DGA and the armed forces for their trust and for the close collaboration which helped create the conditions for the program to be brought forward within the framework of the current military budget law. This will make it possible to speed up the replacement of the older generation of aircraft, while optimizing the support and availability of the French State’s helicopter fleet,” said Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters. “Our teams are committed to delivering an aircraft in 2026 that meets the needs of the French armed forces in terms of availability, performance and capability, thus enabling it to rapidly become the new benchmark on the world’s medium-lift military helicopter market.”

Built around a platform that will enter service next year, the HIL program will benefit from many of the advantages inherent in the civil H160, particularly in terms of support, with simplified maintenance and lower operating costs than the previous generation of helicopters in this category.

According to Airbus, the Guepard will replace five legacy helicopters in the French armed services, and will provide 169 units to the government. The French army will be taking delivery of the lion's Cheetah's share of the units with 80 landing for that branch, with 49 going to the navy, and 40 to the air force.

 

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France accelerates H160M helicopter acquisition
BY: DOMINIC PERRY
29 May 2019

France has advanced by 12 months the launch of its tri-service helicoptere interarmees leger (HIL) programme, enabling first delivery of the Airbus Helicopters H160M in 2026.

Paris had previously planned a 2022 launch for its rotorcraft renewal effort, which will replace five types with just one, with deliveries set for later that decade.
Asset Image

Eric Raz/Airbus Helicopters

Announcing the revised timeline, French defence minister Florence Parly says the speedy introduction of the H160M will enable the country's armed forces to maintain their advantage over adversaries.

Also unveiling a mock-up of the helicopter, which will appear at the forthcoming Paris air show, Parly describes the H160M as "versatile, modern and incredibly fast".

Parly says the H160M will be known as the Guepard – or Cheetah – in French service. It will perform missions including reconnaissance, fire support, infiltration of special forces, anti-shipping and airspace protection.

Paris has previously indicated that it will buy 169 H160Ms under the HIL effort: 80 for the army, 49 for the navy and 40 for the air force.
Asset Image

Eric Raz/Airbus Helicopters

"Our teams are committed to delivering an aircraft in 2026 that meets the needs of the French armed forces in terms of availability, performance and capability, thus enabling [the H160M] to rapidly become the new benchmark on the world's medium-lift military helicopter market," says said
Bruno Even, chief executive of Airbus Helicopters.

France in 2017 selected the H160M for the HIL programme, with the 6.5t-class twin-engined helicopters destined to replace a number of elderly types in the country's inventory, including Gazelles and Alouette IIIs.

 

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French Defence and Intervention Frigates Steel Cut in October 2019
29 June 2019

View attachment 8666
FREMM frigate

The first steel cut for the French Navy’s defence and intervention frigates (FDI), the fully digital warships that will be among the most modern anywhere in the world, will take place in October this year.

Naval Group teams are in the process of launching the program for the FDIs that will be delivered from 2023 onward, a Naval Group release said on the occasion of the completion of the Normandie frigate which marks the completion of the FREMM shipbuilding program.

The next program will be the construction of two multi-mission frigates with renewed anti-air defence capacities, the Alsace and the Lorraine, which will begin in Lorient. They will be delivered in 2021 and 2022 respectively, the release said.

The company was awarded a contract to build five FDI frigates for the French Navy in 2017. The FDI design features an inverted bow design with a length of 122 meters and a displacement of 4,250 tons.

In April 2019, Florence Parly, Minister of Armed Forces of France announced that the first SeaFire AESA radar system, meant for the digital frigate, had been installed at the shore integration facility in Southern France ahead of schedule.
 

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French Pilot Takes Selfie Inside Russia-Made Su-30 Jet During India-France Drills (Photo)
06 July 2019

View attachment 9080
A French pilot makes a FAM flight aboard an @IAF_MCC Su-30MKI.

View attachment 9082


View attachment 9083


View attachment 9081
During the exchange flying, Sqn Ldr Sourabh Ambure flew in the FAF Rafale aircraft.


The Garuda-VI joint Indo-France drills began at the French Air Force base at Mont-De-Marsan, France, on 1 July.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Friday announced that one of its pilots flew a Rafale fighter, while a French Air Force pilot flew an IAF Russian-made Su-30MKI fighter.
A French pilot makes a FAM flight aboard an @IAF_MCC Su-30MKI. Great aircraft !
// Un pilote du #RC2_30 effectue un vol de familiarisation à bord d'un #Flanker-C indien. Sacré avion ! //#Garuda #Rafale pic.twitter.com/RR0jXAmOZc
— Webmaster Chasse (@WebChasse) July 4, 2019
During the flight, the French Air Force pilot took a selfie from the cockpit of the two-seat fighter jet.
#ExGaruda2019 : The objective of Indo-France joint exercise is to share good practices & to enhance interoperability & cooperation between the two Air Forces.

During the exchange flying, Sqn Ldr Sourabh Ambure flew in the FAF Rafale aircraft.@Armee_de_lair @FranceinIndia pic.twitter.com/BNg1AzWPPj
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) July 5, 2019
The aim of the Garuda-VI exercises is to test new tactical and strategic techniques, debug interaction and test military capabilities. This is also an opportunity for the Indian Air Force to test the capabilities of the Rafale fighter jets, which are poised to join the Indian Air Force fleet in a few months.

During the two-week exercises, the Indian Air Force will use 10 Su-30MKI, IL-76 multifunctional fighters and the Il-78 aerial refuelling tanker.

 

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France To Order 150 Additional Griffon Armoured Vehicles

View attachment 9110
France is likely to order 150 additional VBMR Griffon multi-role armoured vehicles, Florence Parley, Minister of the Armed Forces of France said on July 4, during the ceremony held to accept the delivery of first of the ordered 1,722 VBMR 6x6 Griffon vehicles.

“Concerning the Griffon, it will be 150 more vehicles that will be ordered, to reach 1872 copies by 2030,” Parley said.

The Griffon is one of the three key new vehicles of the “Scorpion programme” launched in 2014, along with the Jaguar and the Serval. They are intended to replace the army’s 2,661-strong Véhicule de l’avant blindé (VAB) fleet, which has been in service since 1978.

According to the Army's 2020 Defense White Paper, it had originally planned to buy up to 2,122 VBMR vehicles (1,722 VBMR 6x6 Griffon and 400 VBMR 4x4 vehicles) between 2018 and 2025. The additional order for 150 more will take the total to 1,872 6x6 Griffon vehicles.

92 units are expected to be delivered to France by the end of this year. She announced that the first Jaguar vehicle will be delivered to France in 2020. The Serval, which is a light, 4-wheel variant of the VBMR will be delivered by 2022.

According to the minister, half of first ordered armoured vehicles will be delivered to the army by 2025. “By 2025, 50% of vehicles of the Scorpion program will be delivered to the Army,” she said.

A consortium of Nexter, Thales, and Renault Trucks Defense is building the Griffon 6x6 vehicles. The consortium is contractually obliged to keep the price per Griffon under Euro 1 million $1.1 million).

Currently, six versions of the Griffon are planned, with four of these (armored personnel carrier, command post, ambulance, and artillery observer) ordered in the first tranche.

 

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