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Thales at Eurosatory 2024: Trusted intelligence serving the Armed Forces

Thales Group will be showing the latest technologies to support the sovereignty, safety and sustainability of nations.

Thales is quadrupling its ammunition production capacity at its La Ferté Saint Aubin site to meet the needs of the French Army

Photos: Thales Group

Thales has received a new order from the French Army and will ramp up production capacity to meet the capability requirements of the armed forces.

Less than two years after awarding Thales a contract for 120 mm munitions, with a firm order for 3,000 illuminating mortar rounds, France’s Joint Munitions Command has signed a new contract with Thales to supply for tens of thousands of 120 mm rounds, completing the order for 15,000 rounds signed in 2023. High-explosive (HE) rounds make up two-thirds of the total order, with practice rounds accounting for the remaining third. The ordnance will be used by towed 120 mm rifled towed mortar systems, and in due course by the MEPAC1 variant of the Griffon multi-role armoured vehicle integrated with the ATLAS2 automated artillery fire control system.

Thales will provide the armed forces with technical assistance, support for integration of the mortar systems on board the vehicles, and maintenance services for the mortar systems and munitions.

The La Ferté Saint Aubin site near Orleans will increase its production rates, from an overall annual output of 20,000 rounds in 2023, to more than 80,000 rounds a year by 2026.

The munitions will be delivered between 2024 and 2029, with a first shipment scheduled for the last quarter of 2024.

In addition to the La Ferté Saint Aubin site, a number of Thales partner SMEs in the defence industrial and technological base, and in particular the companies manufacturing machined projectile bodies and mechanical components, will be involved in fulfilling the new order.

The rifled mortars manufactured by Thales are three times more accurate than smooth-bore mortars and the only mortars to match the performance of 155 mm artillery systems.

We deeply value the continuing confidence of the French land forces. This order for 120 mm ordnance is an integral part of the broader policy to build capacity and we are fully mobilised to meet this requirement in terms of both production rates and product performance, said Hervé Dammann, Executive Vice-President, Land and Air Systems, Thales

Brazilian Air Force strengthens air surveillance capacities with the acquisition of Thales Ground Master 200 Multi-Mission “All-in-One” radars

Thales Ground Master 200 Multi-mission All-in-one (GM200 MM/A) I Image for illustrative purposes only. The Department of Airspace Control (DECEA), through the Airspace Control System Implementation Commission (CISCEA), has signed a contract for the acquisition of Ground Master Multi-Mission “All-in-One” radars in order to enhance Brazil’s air surveillance capability.

To protect airspace, the Ground Master 200 Multi-Mission radar family covers the whole spectrum of threats, from low mini-drones to faster, more agile targets at longer ranges, while retaining a very high tactical mobility and a very short deployment time. More than 250 radars from the GM family have been sold worldwide.

The GM200 MM/A is designed for modern multi-mission air surveillance and GBAD missions, figuring amongst the most flexible radars on the market today – offering radar operators instant superior situational awareness. Featuring new-generation 4DAESA and unique ‘dual-axis multi-beam’ technology, the radar provides flexibility in elevation and bearing. This software-defined radar is ready for future upgrades and capabilities expansion to manage the ever-evolving spectrum of threats and doctrines.

The GM200 MM/A fits in a single autonomous 20-foot ISO standard package of less than 10 tons with built-in lifting systems, enabling the radar to be easily transported by road, rail, boat, helicopter and tactical aircraft in a single rotation and to be quickly operational, enhancing survivability.

Deployed by two people in less than 15 minutes, the antenna operates on an 8-meter mast, with an embedded Power Generator Unit, sustainable for more than 24-hour of operation, providing a complete autonomy during missions. The radar enables the integration of a Local Command and Control capability within the radar’s cabin for up to two operators and their working positions.

The contract signed with the FAB consolidates Thales´ position as a leader in the radar market in Brazil. Omnisys, a Thales subsidiary in Brazil, will be responsible for all local radar support and maintenance activities, guaranteeing the high standard of availability requested by such systems.

We are proud to serve the Brazilian Air Force and DECEA, contributing to air surveillance and air sovereignty missions of its nation with GM200 MM/A radars. With a long presence in this country, local footprint with Omnisys, and a strong installed base of more than 100 Air Traffic Control (ATC) radars, this is a new milestone in our collaboration to support our customer in airspace protection. Our commitment to excellence, cutting-edge technology and premium local services reinforces our dedication to meeting the FAB’s air surveillance needs of today and in the future, comments Eric Huber, Vice President Surface Radars, Thales.

The acquisition and incorporation of the new GM200 MM/A radars into the 1st GCC (1st Communications and Control Group) will significantly contribute to the enhancement of surveillance and security in air navigation, ensuring a prompt response for the country’s air defense. The high mobility of these radars, combined with their ability to detect the most modern threats, demonstrates the commitment of the Brazilian Air Force to national sovereignty, adds Major Brigadeiro Alexandre Arthur Massena Javoski, President of the Airspace Control System Implementation Commission – CISCEA.

Ground Master 200 Multi Mission Family

The Ground Master 200 Multi Mission family (GM200 MM) is the new generation of Thales’ medium range ground radar including Thales 4D AESA and dual axis multi-beam technologies. It benefits from Thales GM200 and NS100/200 technology background and many years fielded experience of more than 30 countries.

The GM200 MM exists in two different mobile versions:

  • The Ground Master 200 Multi Mission “compact” version (GM200 MM/C) is a pallet version offering higher tactical mobility and quicker deployment, as well as specific mission capabilities such as artillery Counter Battery and Weapon Locating. It also suits well GBAD operations (up to low level MRAD**).
  • The Ground Master 200 Multi Mission “all in one” (GM200 MM/A) targeting mainly Air Surveillance as well as GBAD operations (up to low level MRAD, as its GM200 MM/C brother). It maintains the well-known GM200 integrated C2 shelter and facilitates space for the radar mast to gain elevation for low level air surveillance and 2 operators on board.

Both versions are easy to transport, optimized for network centric remote operations, and ultimately save time in planning, training and operation.

4D AESA family

Thales’ scalable and upgradable antenna architecture is the core of Thales’ new medium- and long-range 4D AESA radar family (NS50, NS100/200, SM400, APAR, GM200 MM, SMART-L MM, Sea Fire and Ground Fire).

The full digital & software-defined 4D AESA radar technology offers upgrade capacity over the whole life cycle to maintain the tailored operational capability against evolving threats, including enhanced tracking & classification performance.

Thales and CEA partner on trusted generative AI for defence and security

Alexandre Bounouh, Director of the CEA-List Institute, specialising in smart digital systems, and Bertrand Tavernier, CTO for Thales’s Secure Communications and Information Systems business, at the signing of the partnership agreement on 30 April 2024 in Palaiseau, France

To create trusted generative AI solutions, Thales’s AI Lab, the most powerful integrated laboratory for critical AI in Europe, and the CEA, which is one of the world’s most innovative research organisations and is listed alongside Thales in the Clarivate Analytics Top 100 Global Innovators,1 have joined forces to focus on a range of generative AI use cases, in particular for intelligence and command applications.

Bertrand Tavernier, Chief Technical Officer for Thales’s Secure Communications and Information Systems business: This partnership with the CEA’s AI teams will combine the power of their research with our work at Thales’s AI accelerator, which brings together the Group’s technological expertise and deep knowledge of the defence and security sectors. Our customers — governments, armed forces, critical infrastructure operators — need trusted, sovereign generative AI solutions for their critical missions.

Alexandre Bounouh, Director of the CEA’s List Institute, specialising in smart digital systems: This partnership builds on the long-standing collaboration between the CEA and Thales and extends it to the sensitive issue of generative AI, combining the expertise and excellence of the CEA’s research teams in AI safety and security with Thales’s AI accelerator’s strengths in the strategic domain of defence and security. It will support the CEA’s mission in safety, security and artificial intelligence with our partners and all institutional and industry stakeholders in this field.

Use cases for the armed forces

Generative AI can be developed to accelerate OODA command loops (observe, orient, decide, act) and implemented across the entire critical decision chain: sensing and data gathering, data transmission and storage, data processing and decision support.

Generative AI will serve as a trusted smart assistant for users, enabling them to dialogue easily and efficiently with complex systems with the aim of facilitating and accelerating human decision-making and the tempo of operations. For intelligence gathering, for example, multimodal generative AI will make it possible to simultaneously extract, process, correlate and interpret different types of information from multiple sources — such as the web, social media and sensors in a theatre of operations — to generate summaries and accelerate the production of reliable reports.

Thales’s AI Lab and the CEA will also focus on interoperability within coalitions. To simplify communication between member states in the context of a joint operation, trusted generative AI will facilitate interaction between operators and complex systems by translating their intentions into a sequence of actions and translating technical terms into the languages of the various nations involved.

Thales, a leader in trusted AI for mission-critical systems

Thales is a major player in trusted, cybersafe, transparent, explainable and ethical AI for armed forces, aircraft manufacturers and critical infrastructure operators. In 2023, the Group was Europe’s top patent applicant in the field of AI for mission-critical systems. It has more than 600 AI experts and hosts around 100 PhD students every year in AI at Thales’s AI accelerator in the field of research (AI Lab), systems (AI Factory for decision support systems) and sensors (AI Sensors for sonar, radar, radio and optronics). Thanks to Thales’s AI accelerator and its network of world-class industry, start-up and academic partners, Thales is building AI into more than 100 of its products and services. Benefiting from the most advanced sensor and system technologies, these AI capabilities cover the full spectrum of needs in defence, aviation, space, cybersecurity and digital identity. Trusted AI is designed to meet the specific security and sovereignty needs of Thales’s customers. It brings greater efficiency to data analysis and decision support and speeds up the detection, identification and classification of objects of interest and target scenes, while taking account of specific constraints such as cybersecurity, embeddability and frugality in critical environments.

CEA, a key player in trusted AI for mission-critical systems

In the field of artificial intelligence, the CEA is uniquely positioned across the entire AI value chain, with skills ranging from algorithms and software development tools to computing architectures and microelectronics. The hardware and software solutions developed by the CEA with its academic and industry partners are aimed at applications where AI quality and performance are critical. They include sovereign applications for which the CEA is its own customer (cybersecurity, defence, energy) and industrial applications to which the CEA contributes its expertise.

The CEA has developed high-level expertise in AI technologies, enabling the agency to support its industry partners in the development of innovative solutions. At its CEA-List Institute specialising in smart digital systems, the CEA focuses its research on the development of high-performance, trusted and sovereign models.

Working with Thales, the CEA teams will be applying their expertise more specifically to develop LLMs (large language models) and VLMs (vision language models) for the sectors and use cases targeted by Thales.

About CEA

The CEA is a major research organisation working in the best interests of the French State, its economy and citizens. Thanks to its strong roots in fundamental research, it is able to provide tangible solutions to meet their needs in four key fields: low-carbon energy, digital technologies, technologies for medicine of the future, defence and national security. As the world’s leading innovator among public research organisations (Clarivate 2024), the CEA acts as a catalyst and accelerator of innovation for French industry. It helps businesses in all sectors be more competitive, creating high-performance products that stand out from the crowd and developing trail-blazing solutions that lead to changes in society. The CEA deploys this dynamic in all regions of France aiding local partners to innovate themselves, thus helping to create sustainable value and jobs nationwide, tailored to meet actual industry needs. At the same time, it supports the development of its 250 start-ups, agile vectors for transferring the disruptive technology and knowledge developed at CEA laboratories to industry. ​

Thales unveils OpenDRobotics to support a new era of extended collaborative combat enabled by AI

With OpenDRobotics, Thales is taking collaborative combat to the next level through the development of a revolutionary integrated system that ties together robotics technologies and different types of drones to provide an automated mission system capability.

Recent conflicts have demonstrated the operational value of drones and robotic systems in terms of battlefield transparency and speed of action to enhance mission effectiveness while keeping human operators out of harm’s way. These systems can also saturate enemy defences without requiring larger numbers of human operators or increasing the cognitive burden on the forces already deployed.

Thales is a pivotal player in the field of collaborative combat, providing AI modules, connectivity solutions, mission systems that enable engaged units to operate as a network and a unique ability to integrate with conventional assets already in service with land forces.

Building on the success of CohoMa II, the OpenDRobotics initiative creates operational value by coordinating the capabilities of a wide range of drones and robotic systems, providing command-and-control and extended collaborative combat functions by capitalising on the Group’s long-standing experience with tactical mission systems, in particular for the Scorpion programme.

OpenDRobotics has a central role to play in a broad spectrum of armed forces missions: reconnaissance, intelligence, CBRN, Special Forces operations, cavalry, artillery, etc.).

OpenDRobotics builds on the open-source ROS (Robot Operating System) and STANAG 4586 standards, which are widely used by NATO and were developed as collaborative initiatives to promote easier integration of drones and robotic systems developed by partners and third parties.

We are proud to present OpenDRobotics, a comprehensive offering that will accelerate the process of integrating drones and robotic systems in land combat operations. Building on our experience on the Scorpion programme and the lessons learned from collaborative combat deployments, Thales is enabling the forces to conduct their missions more quickly and in greater safety by coordinating large numbers of autonomous systems on the battlefield, said Arnaud Lacaze, Vice President Defence Business Segment, Thales. ​

Thales unveils new range of tactical wideband High Frequency radios

  • Thales’s first resilient high-data-rate High Frequency (HF) radio sets for land theatre command posts are on display on the company’s stand at Eurosatory.
  • They provide a resilient long-distance communications capability and, with data rates 10 times higher than earlier generations of HF radios.
  • The new HF radios use patented technology that has already been proven in naval operations aboard several types of warships including FDI-class defence and intervention frigates and France’s Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier.

At Eurosatory 2024, Thales is unveiling the first two radios in its new HF XL range of resilient high-data-rate wideband HF radios for command posts deployed by land forces in the theatre of operations. They are ideally suited to high-intensity conflict scenarios.

High frequency (HF) transmissions, fully secure and with low operating costs, are still essential for armed forces, particularly in areas with poor satellite coverage (polar regions, for example, or in constrained environments) or where there is a high risk of jamming. However, HF is limited in terms of bandwidth, and can no longer meet the growing needs of armed forces for data exchange.

By developing high-frequency broadband communication capabilities (HF XL), Thales is offering a 10-fold increase in bandwidth and a significant improvement in quality of service, while still benefiting from HF’s advantages of long range and operation in constrained environments.

This technological feat is made possible by a cognitive engine that automatically selects frequencies throughout the communication. Jammed frequencies are automatically rejected and replaced by free frequencies, ensuring link stability and optimized data rates. This makes the radios easy-to-use.

The 1 kW and 400 W radios, fully interoperable with all wideband HF radios, enable deployed command posts to communicate with command headquarters or with other units in remote areas of the theatre of operations, over distances of up to 10,000 km.

To the two stations currently available, 1kW and 400W, new radios for vehicles and soldiers will be added in 2025 to complete the tactical range. In addition to land and naval environments, it is planned tp extend HF XL technology into the aero and infrastructure domains.

These new radios are the culmination of several years of consistent innovation and design efforts to provide our customers with a mature solution that represents the state of the art in wideband HF technology, said Christophe Groshenry, Vice-President Radiocommunication Products, Thales.

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