Originally built to support DGA's ESPADON MCM technology demonstration programme,
is now being converted to serve as a testbed for maritime autonomy.
(Richard Scott/NAVYPIX (left) + Naval Group (right))
France's Naval Group is modifying and repurposing an existing optionally manned trials vessel to serve as an experimental testbed for large uncrewed platform and autonomous systems, the company has revealed.
Under a loan arrangement with France's Direction générale de l'armement (DGA), the trials craft Sterenn Du is being converted to support science and technology applicable to next-generation uncrewed surface vessels (USVs). Naval Group is self-funding the conversion, which began in Brest earlier this year.
Sterenn Du is a 17 m aluminium catamaran originally delivered in 2011 to support technology demonstrations associated with the DGA's ESPADON (Ėvaluation incrèmentale de Solutions Potentielles d'Automatìsatìon de Deminage pour les Opérations Navales) stand-off mine countermeasures (MCM) technology demonstration programme. ESPADON, which ran until May 2016, was a national effort designed to de-risk overarching concepts and crucial technologies applicable to the French Navy's projected Système de lutte anti-mines – futur (SLAM-F) future MCM capability.
New datalink terminal qualifies for integration on French AWACS aircraft
23 September 2022
by Olivia Savage
French Boeing E-3F Sentry AWACS to get latest military tactical datalink. (Boeing)
The Multifunctional Information Distribution System-Low Volume Terminal Block Upgrade 2 (MIDS-LVT BU2) has been qualified for use on all four of the French Air and Space Force Boeing E-3F Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft.
Announced by the French Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) on 22 September, the new terminal will enable the operation of the latest-generation Link 16 military tactical data network on its aircraft in September−November 2022.
In 2020 Thales and Air France Industries were selected to integrate the new MIDS-LVT BU2 terminal on the French E-3F AWACS, the announcement said.
The DGA conducted two years of tests to qualify the terminal, in conjunction with the French Air and Space Force and the two industrial partners. Specifically, the DGA Information Control Centre of Expertise and Testing handled security with the information systems, while the DGA Project Engineering Centre examined the authorisation files for flight, temporary employment authorisation, and qualification of the integration of MIDS-LVT BU2 on the AWACS. Several flights were conducted by the DGA Flight Test Centre, which tested the integration and operation of the terminal, the DGA said.
DX Korea 2022: SNT Dynamics unveils light-vehicle mortar system
23 September 2022
by Jon Grevatt
SNT Dynamics has integrated its KM120 mortar system with a 4×4 vehicle made by Kia Motors for the Republic of Korea Army. (Janes/Jon Grevatt)
South Korea's SNT Dynamics has integrated its KM120 120 mm mortar system with a 4×4 light tactical vehicle (LTV) built by Kia Motors for a requirement in the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA).
The company showcased the new LTV mortar capability for the first time at the DX Korea 2022 event being held in Goyang from 21 to 25 September. SNT Dynamics has not yet officially named the product.
“This capability has a crew of just three – a driver, a mortar loader, and a fire-control operator. The RoK Army wants a light and mobile mortar system that can be deployed by helicopter quickly and easily,” said an official from SNT Dynamics.
He said the RoKA has a potential requirement for about 200 mortar vehicles, although the programme has not yet been framed by a tender.
In addition to sales to the RoKA, the company said customers in the Middle East have expressed interest in procuring the system.
The first of six H160 helicopters for the French Navy was handed over by service provider Babcock on 22 September. (Jean-Marc Tanguy)
Babcock delivered its first Airbus Helicopters H160 rotorcraft to the French Navy on 22 September during a ceremony at Hyères Naval Air Station (NAS) in southeastern France.
The helicopter was the first of six that have been leased by Babcock as a service provider for 10 years. With the remainder to follow by the end of 2023, they are to be used for maritime search and rescue (SAR) and interdiction missions by French Navy commandos.
The first aircraft will be operational from May 2023 at the Cherbourg NAS, then at Lanvéoc-Poulmic NAS and Hyères NAS. Meanwhile, the navy will conduct operational trials of the new type – the first H160 used by any military in the world.
Babcock has extensively modified the aircraft supplied by Airbus Helicopters in May with a winch, as well as a Safran Euroflir 410 electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) sensor turret and control station. From January 2023 this H160 will also be able to conduct fast rope operations with the commandos.
In this episode of The World of Intelligence we speak with Neil Spencer on the value of OSINT in the commercial sector.
Neil Spencer is the Director of Strategy and Partnerships for LifeRaft. He has more than twenty years of security indust...