JED - June 2011 - (Page 54)

By Tom Withington France’s Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) procurement agency is pursing several electronic warfare (EW) programs across the land, sea and air domains for the country’s armed forces. Several of these initiatives have been launched in the last five years, and additional EW system acquisitions are expected over the next five-year period. These initiatives are being driven by two key motivations; firstly to outfit platforms that the Armée de Terre (French Army), Marine Nationale (French Navy) and Armée de l’Air (French Air Force) are acquiring; and secondly, to respond to urgent operational requirements generated by the continuing French presence in Afghanistan in support of NATO operations there. Around 4,000 French personnel are deployed both inside the country, and as part of Combined Task Force-150 supporting maritime security operations in the Indian Ocean region. Most of these personnel are involved in counter-insurgency efforts inside Afghanistan and, as a result of the French Army’s experiences there, a number of EW programs have been launched to provide force protection to French troops operating on the ground. ARMÉE DE TERRE The French Army follows two distinct approaches as far as its EW doctrine is concerned, maintaining both brigade and tactical-level EW capabilities. The force is unusual in the European context in maintaining a dedicated unit charged with collecting signals intelligence (SIGINT). This unit was initially called the Brigade de Renseignement et de Guerre Electronique (BRGE/ Electronic Warfare and Information Brigade) and was formed in 1993. It was renamed the Brigade de Renseignement, despite retaining its EW responsibilities. Currently, this unit contains two SIGINT regiments (44e and 54e Régiment de Transmissions); artillery and light cavalry regiments; a cartographic group; an information collection group charged with interrogating prisoners of war; and civil communications operations. In addition to this formation, French Army EW doctrine also highlights the importance of retaining tactical-level EW assets, and to this end, is rolling out equipment onto its ground vehicles to provide tactical-level SIGINT and force protection. EW force protection assets utilized by the French Army include a route clearance system, known as the SOUVIM-2, which is understood to have deployed to Afghanistan. The system obtains its designation from Système d’OUVerture d’Itinéraire Miné, (Mine Route Clearance System). The DGA contracted MBDA to develop the SOUVIM-2 in 2000, following the draft of a requirement by the French Army for a vehicle which could clear ordnance from up to 93 miles of road per day. The requirement also stipulated that the vehicle should be able to mark the safe route for other traffic in a convoy. The acquisition of the SOUVIM-2 by the French Army replaces the legacy SOUVIM-1 system that the force was using for the mine and Improvised Explosive Device (IED) clearance task. SOUVIM-1 was the local designation given to the four DCD Dorbyl Husky vehicles that the French Army procured from South Africa. Each SOUVIM-2 comprises two separate vehicles, each designed with a narrow V-shaped hull. The two vehicles both tow trailers, and travel in a tandem formation. A frame outfits the front of the leading vehicle accommodating an infra-red sensor designed to detonate IR-activated ordnance, as well as a

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JED - June 2011

JED - June 2011
The View From Here
Conferences Calendar
Courses Calendar
From the President
The Monitor
Washington Report
World Report
The World’s SIGINT Aircraf
Upgrading Fighter Aircraft
Country Profi le: France’s EW Programs
Technology Survey: Airborne Dispensers and IR Expendables
EW 101
2011 AOC Election Guide
AOC Membership Page
Index of Advertisers
JED Quick Look

JED - June 2011