Defense industry

A demonstration of French equipment to Europeans

The French inter-arms demonstration took place this year in front of an exceptional public, French presidency of the EU obliges, the ambassadors to the COPS - the Political and Security Committee of the EU - and the military representatives (RepMil) of the 27 Member States , or almost, were present in the stands, in the Mourmelon camp.

Leaving from Brussels on the early morning of the 25th, from the military airport of Melsbroek, in Transall, the RepMil and Cops had first been able to see, in the morning, during a static presentation, made at the air base of Reims, the different models of the French army, the old ones - C130 or C160 transport planes, C135 tanker, Mirage 2000 S or 2000 N (nuclear) and Gazelle Viviane helicopter - and the most recent - Rafale, Caracal helicopter (Resco version - recovery relief) or Tiger, Leclerc tank, Vab Lynx - in the company of some European equipment (in particular a German eurofighter and an Italian).

You could see some equipment or units used in multinational operations.

- C135 tanker, re-equipped with a medical evacuation kit (known as Morphée), a format introduced two years ago. Based in Istres, it has already served twice in operational mode in Kosovo and more recently in Afghanistan. It can accommodate 12 injured (including 4 in intensive care, resuscitation) or 6 intensive care and 6 less heavy injured. The equipment on board is equivalent to what can be found in a Smur, but everything is doubled there - just in case. If necessary, minor surgeries can be performed (this has happened before). A second kit (Austrian manufacture) should arrive soon. It is set up in refueller in 24 hours in constructor mode (15 hours by accelerating the procedures).

- Intelligence drone in contact (Drac): a small piece of equipment weighing only 8 kg, which can be easily assembled (15 minutes) and easily transported (in the boxes you see behind, which weigh 25 kg with the on-board computer and can be carried on the back). It is quite small: 3,4 meters long and 1,5 meters wide. Equipped with an electric twin engine, it launches by hand (like an aeromodelling equipment) and lands automatically. It can fly for about an hour, day or night. It has a GPS, an inertial navigation unit, a magnetometer, and an on-board computer. It allows images to be collected, without engaging a ground sensor and can be used even by non-specialized units. He is currently deployed in Kosovo.

- comMonfort Mandos. Based in Lorient, it is one of the elite commandos of the navy, heirs of the first free French forces (in the same way as the commando). Their specialty: support for air resources, sabotage, destruction and neutralization. It has snipers (snipers), which can be embarked on board helicopters, and heavier equipment (mortars, anti-tank Milan missiles, etc.) and laser means, to help guide aerial or ground bombardments. thus operating “behind the lines.” He was notably deployed in Bosnia (for the tracking of war criminals) or for the evacuation of French and European nationals in Yemen (1994) and Sierra Leone (1997).

The "dynamic" demonstration made it possible to see all these elements in action, in several forms: aircraft interception, "intimidation" passages at low altitude, demonstration of evacuation of nationals. The exercise brought together not only the various French army corps but also some European means (German, Belgian, Italian, Swiss). A simple regret: the somewhat limited participation for my taste of European means - given the multinational assistance. The demonstration turned too much to the technical development of the material than to the demonstration of the possibility of action. But the European guests have, a priori, appreciated.

The return with a Transall taking off from the grassy field, engines running, was however worth the detour. Especially when a paratrooper burst into the bus to firmly give the last instructions: remove badges, no hats or caps, line up in pairs, no one flinched... And everyone complied. ... well almost. Diplomats - even Europeans - are no more disciplined than journalists 🙂


Photo credit: NGV

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).