The French Army is preparing to receive its first tranche of Antares local situation awareness (LSA) modules towards the end of 2018, pending the successful conclusion of a 12-month operational qualification process.
Thales officials told Jane’s that the completion of trials will initiate the mass production of the LSA module which is aiming to achieve a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 8 ahead of deliveries. The system is presently at TRL 7.
“The French Army is then scheduled to receive a total of 467 Antares LSA modules (one per vehicle) for integration on board the Griffon multirole armoured vehicle and a further 100 units (two per vehicle) for the Jaguar armoured reconnaissance and combat vehicle as part of the Scorpion modernisation effort,” Thierry Midavaine, optronics expert at Thales, explained.
Speaking to Jane’s at the International Symposium on Optronics in Defence & Security in Paris, Midavaine described how the army is testing Antares prototypes for systems integration into the Scorpion programme.
He noted that the greatest challenge facing Antares in the qualification process will be the networking of the LSA module’s capabilities across multiple vehicle types – which will be achieved through Thales’ SYNAPS software defined radio (SDR) solution currently contracted with the French Ministry of Defence (MoD) for its next-generation Communications Numériques Tactiques et de Théatre (CONTACT) upgrade programme.
Thales describes Antares as a “real-time day and night local awareness and softkill” for combat vehicles. The single payload provides 360° situation awareness and features an integrated laser warning system capable of providing self-protection against close-in threats; rear view and driving aids; and an external view for mounted soldiers ahead of egress from the vehicle. The laser warning system is capable of detecting laser range finders operating at 1.54 nm and 1.06 nm with threat localisation of less than 2°. An optional acoustic gunshot detection system is being considered for integration in the future.
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